Jo Whiley has claimed her disabled sister Frances ‘refused to talk to [her]’ of her family when she was offered the
Making an appearance on Thursday’s edition of This Morning, the
Frances, 53, has a rare genetic syndrome called Cri du Chat – a chromosomal condition that results in delayed development.
‘It was the cruellest twist’: Jo Whiley claimed on Thursday’s This Morning her disabled sister Frances ‘refused to talk to her’ when the DJ was offered the Covid-19 vaccine before her
She explained to Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield: ‘It played out like the worst disastrous movie. I got offered my vaccine, which felt like the cruellest twist, she refused to take our calls.
‘She refused to talk to me, she refused to talk to my mum and dad, we were calling the home and that showed the impact on her mental health.’
At the time she was offered the vaccine, ‘fit and healthy’ Jo said it was ‘mind boggling’ she was offered a jab before her younger sister Frances.
Struggle: Jo explained, ‘I got offered my vaccine, which felt like the cruellest twist, she refused to take our calls. She refused to talk to me, she refused to talk to my mum and dad’
Unfair: At the time she was offered the vaccine, ‘fit and healthy’ Jo said it was ‘mind boggling’ she was offered a jab before her younger sister Frances, who then contracted Covid-19
Adults with learning disabilities will now all be offered Covid vaccines as part of the top six priority groups, Britain’s health chiefs said today after a campaign by Jo Whiley to get her sister jabbed.
The JCVI, which decides on who gets the life-saving jabs first, said people with learning disabilities of any kind should be bumped up the pecking order.
They will be added into priority group six, which includes all adults with a long-term health condition that puts them at higher risk of severe illness.
Tough: Of her sister’s battle with coronavirus, Jo said, ‘It got very serious, this time last week, the next 24 hours we thought we were gonna lose her’
Jo called for people with learning disabilities to get vaccines sooner after her sister, who has a developmental disorder and lives in residential care, was hospitalised with Covid-19 this month.
Of her sister’s battle with coronavirus, Jo went on: ‘We got the news that she had tested positive for Covid, all the people on the care home tested positive and many of the carers, so it was catastrophic.
‘It got very serious, this time last week, the next 24 hours we thought we were gonna lose her. I would say to everyone you need to get a oxymeter, that’s how we knew she was dangerously ill and we couldn’t get the mask on her.
‘Because we couldn’t get the oxygen in her, and then we ended up 4am on Friday night, Saturday AM, discussing end of life care.
Grateful: Jo heaped praise on the NHS for their help with Frances while she battled Covid-19, and said her family felt they were ‘extremely lucky’ as one person in her care home sadly died
Disability: Frances has a rare genetic syndrome called Cri du Chat, which is a delayed development condition
Upset: Earlier this month, Jo shared her dismay at being offered a vaccine before Frances
‘I woke up on Saturday just imagining this Christmas without my sister, and my mum saying “this is our worst nightmare come true” and it was the thing in the last 12 months we had dreaded.’
Heaping praise on the NHS staff who helped take care of Frances, Jo gushed: ‘The staff have been incredible, and that proves how challenging it is for people with learning disabilities as they’re all so different.
‘And staff will try and do whatever they possible can. I Tweeted does anyone know what we can do, and they did put an oxygen tent around Francis, we couldn’t sedate her anymore because she reacted in the opposite way.
‘You put so much sedatives in her body, they took the sedation away and we just watched, and she fought it on her own.’
What is Cri du Chat syndrome?
Cri du Chat syndrome, also known as ‘5p minus’ syndrome, is a chromosomal condition that results when a piece of chromosome 5 is missing.
The name comes from the French term ‘cat cry’ or ‘call of the cat’.
This is because of one of its key identifying symptoms is a cat-like cry that those with the condition make as children.
Other symptoms include severe cognitive, speech and motor disabilities and behavioural problems such as hyperactivity, aggression, outbursts and repetitive movements.
There are also physical symptoms, with those who have the syndrome often having smaller heads and widely-spaced eyes (hypertelorism).
Diagnosis is primarily based on the distinctive ‘cat cry’ and accompanying physical problems
The syndrome, first discovered in 1963, affects around 1 in 50,000 live births and is slightly more common in women than men.
The condition is not treatable, though children can undergo speech and physical therapy to help with some of the symptoms.
She claimed NHS staff believed it was thanks to Frances having a loud voice that she was able to boost her oxygen levels, and she felt they had been ‘extremely lucky’ as one person in Frances’ care home sadly died from the virus.
Frances was discharged from hospital on Tuesday, and said on the BBC at the time: ‘This is a great day – I am so relieved. I’m so happy for all those people who’ve been living in fear.
‘I’m very grateful to the Government for listening, because it’s a very complicated situation and it’s very difficult to categorise people according to their disability, it’s very, very tricky and that’s become apparent I think over the past few months.
‘And so this is clear, this encompasses everybody, and all those people who have been feeling very neglected, feeling like they don’t matter, that we don’t care, now know that we will be protecting them.
‘This is absolutely crucial and I could not be more delighted. This is a massive step forward.’
Speaking about her sister, she added: ‘This is the first step in her recovery, it’s going to be hard work from here on in, but she’s doing great.’
As part of the JCVI’s new drive to get jabs to learning disabled adults, the NHS will also offer the vaccines to adults living in residential or nursing care, as well as those in shared accommodation for people with disabilities.
And doctors will do community outreach to find learning disabled people who aren’t on the GP register but may still be at risk.
Frances was moved into residential care in Northamptonshire in 2015 after her ‘challenging behaviour’ resulted in her needing specialist care.
Recovery: Jo revealed earlier this week that Frances was discharged from hospital on Tuesday
Tips to Find Low Priced Luxury Holiday Package Deals Fast