The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have spoken to people living with long-term health conditions who have been shielding since last March in a video call released by the British Royal Family.
Last week, William and Kate spoke with Shivali Modha, who has been supported by Diabetes UK, and Fiona Doyle, who Asthma UK has supported, to hear about their experiences shielding for nearly a year and their thoughts on receiving the coronavirus vaccine, now that they are eligible.
Fiona told the royals that she had been worried about shielding at first, and how to carry out regular errands, like filling prescriptions, but that she’d received a lot of support from her general practitioner.
She is also a single mother to a seven-year-old daughter, Ciara, and said that provided an extra worry for her, too, because she has been “wanting to feel invincible and wanting to feel like there’s nothing that could ever harm me or hurt me or my child.
“So then knowing that there was this virus out there that was incredibly dangerous for me, it was really difficult.”
Fiona also revealed that she would be getting the vaccine very soon and couldn’t wait to get it. “I have always been somebody who truly believes in vaccines, and I truly believe in science and medicine. I think that it’s the best way to look ahead to have a much brighter future and go back to normality.”
Shivali revealed that she’d been worried about coming into close contact even with her children, for fear that they could get each other sick.
She also revealed that she was excited to get a vaccine to get back to normal but that she’d been nervous about the vaccine because of negative posts on social media, and William replied that they both support vaccines.
“Catherine and I are not medical experts by any means, but if it’s any consolation, we can wholeheartedly support having vaccinations. It’s really, really important,” Prince William told Shivali.
“We’ve spoken to a lot of people about it and the uptake has been amazing so far. We’ve got to keep it going so the younger generations also feel that it’s really important for them to have it.
“So it’s great that Shivali, you’re taking the time to work it out and come to the conclusion that ‘I need to do this’ because social media is awash sometimes with lots of rumours and misinformation, so we have to be a bit careful who we believe and where we get our information from.
“Especially for those who are clinically vulnerable as well, it’s so important that those vaccinations are done, so good luck.”
Shivali replied, “I guess it’s just the unknown and I think that’s the case for most people. It’s just something that is unknown right now. And by the time you’ve had it, it will be A-OK.”
William and Kate’s call comes as the United Kingdom’s leading health charities band together to promote the vaccine to people living with long-term health conditions, now that they are able to receive the vaccine.
Kate told Shivali, “I hope it comes as a huge relief in the end. I know there’s maybe the anxiety and the worry leading up to it, but I hope for all of you it will add a bit of normality back to your lives and confidence as well as we go forward into the spring, that would be great.”
In a statement, Dan Howarth, the head carer at Diabetes UK, said: “We are incredibly proud to be working with Their Royal Highnesses, not only to highlight the challenges people with diabetes have faced during this pandemic but also to highlight the incredible importance of the COVID-19 vaccine and the huge positive impact it will have.”
The Royal Family have been vocal supporters of the coronavirus vaccine, with The Queen urging everyone to do their part and get the vaccine in a video call released on Thursday.
The Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duke of Cambridge have all visited vaccine centres; Sophie has begun volunteering at a vaccine site with St John Ambulance; and other members, still, have been focusing on other aspects of the pandemic—with Kate and Edward focusing on young people and parents, and Anne speaking to medical professionals at universities.