Better days are coming and we owe it to scientists and NHS staff who have given us hope not to waste a single one - Christa Ackroyd

There is an old television advert for shampoo which proclaims the phrase “because you’re worth it “. So as we enter a new year I want to shout it out loud to every one of you, dear readers.

The majority of the population are now under Tier 3 or Tier 4 restrictions. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire

Because you are worth it. All of you. And good times are coming, whatever you may have heard to the contrary. Yes, some tough times still lie ahead but there is so much to look forward to. But we have to stay safe till then.

As I write this I am celebrating the news of the Oxford vaccine with a small sherry and the last of the mince pies. No New Year’s resolutions for me apart from to be kind to others (and myself). So what if we have put a few pounds on? Nothing is worth getting down about. Life is for celebrating. So join me in my optimism.

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I refuse to be downcast, or defeatist. And I refuse to listen to those who would tell me my life, and anyone else over the age of 60, doesn’t matter. You and I are important no matter our age. We are valued. And we all have a life worth living.

A scientist at work in a vaccine manufacturing laboratory. Picture: Steve Parsons / PA Wire

Who says so? The scientists do, those men and women who have worked tirelessly week after week, to come up with not one but now two vaccines to protect us from the dreaded virus which has killed so many.

They knew those most at risk fell into a certain age bracket and they used the brilliance of their minds and the love for humanity in their hearts to develop a way of saving each and everyone of us. Why? Because too many have been lost and because yes, you’ve guessed it, we are all worth it.

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So why am I ramming home this message over and over again? Because you may have heard otherwise. You may have seen on Facebook or read this week in one popular online version of a national newspaper that we of a certain age should be isolated (presumably until we die of boredom) while the younger generation and the healthy carry on as normal.

That all the lockdowns, all the tears over tiers have been a waste of time. In fact, and I quote, the deaths of more than 70,000 human beings “must be taken into context”. What context is there? They are not a number. They are people.

What’s more the writer added many of those who have died from Covid-19 “were close to the end of life in any case.” And “if it hadn’t been Covid it might well have been another infectious disease which dealt the final blow”. And of those who were not old and then died in hospital “fewer than 2,000 had no pre-existing medical conditions.” So that’s alright then is it?

This is what I want to say about this flawed, selfish, cold hearted, analogy of a virus which has wreaked havoc. For every person who died, a family has mourned. And every person with an identified health issue has lived in fear.

And what’s more, who on earth decided this virus and its devastation should be judged simply on the number who have died? Many have survived because of the dedication of our doctors, nurses and carers who have put their own lives at risk for us.

Our NHS promises to care for each and every one of us from cradle to the grave. They continue to carry on caring because above all they are there to save lives, however old, however ill. Thousands have been treated successfully. Thousands more (of all ages) will suffer long term debilitating illness, some for the rest of their lives. So what should we do with them? Lock them up in isolation too?

The very idea of isolating the weak and the vulnerable is not only cruel, it is a flawed argument quite simply because those who will be charged with looking after them will be younger and fitter and at risk of killing them by spreading the virus if they were allowed to live their lives without restriction.

So here we are at the crossroads. The new Oxford vaccine which passed close scrutiny this week will be rolled out in a few days. It has been tested. It hasn’t been rushed. It will save lives and protect our overworked NHS, which will mean that those requiring hospital treatments for other illnesses can be treated.

So for heaven’s sake let us all rejoice in the fact we have not one but two vaccines. Therein lies our hopes for a normal existence. For all. Because that is why they have been developed - to protect all of us irrespective of age, health, race or class.

And if you don’t have one because you believe it’s an attempt to control you via 5G or DNA manipulation, then you are stupid and I don’t want to mix with you. Not just because you are being selfish but because I plan to be around for a lot longer than my 63 years.

These vaccines will save us. They will save your granny. They will save you and save me. Because guess what, we all get older. Guess what, many of us will suffer illnesses which will put us at risk in the future. And in case of any doubt, let me be clear, the life of a 30-year-old, or a 40-year-old is not one jot more valuable than that of a 70-year-old, or anyone else for that matter.

The horrors of Nazi Germany are still within living memory, when Adolf Hitler decided the lives of the vulnerable and the disabled were not important, before he turned his ire and hatred toward the Jews. We know what happened next and we know, too, that our country and its allies fought a war against the Nazis in order to protect us all from a warped plan to create a master race where only the fit, the young and the healthy mattered.

So remember as we wait for better times, that the scientists, doctors and nurses who have been fighting a battle on our behalf these past 12 months think you are worth it. Ignore the ignorant with their ‘‘my life is more important than yours’’ attitude.

And if you make one New Year’s resolution this year let it be a simple one. Live your best life. Better days are coming. And we owe it to those who have given us hope not to waste a single one of them.

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