Jo Whiley ‘could not be happier’ as disabled sister Francis is set to finally get her Covid vaccine

Jo Whiley has said she ‘could not be happier’ as her disabled sister Francis is set to receive her first Covid-19 vaccination, a month after the virus left her ‘fighting for her life’.

The radio 2 presenter, 55, revealed her excitement at the news that her younger sibling Francis, 53, will get her first dose of the vaccine this weekend, weeks after Jo herself got her own jab before her sister.

Francis, who has a rare genetic syndrome called Cri du Chat, and diabetes, was left seriously ill last month after an outbreak at her care home, with her family even discussing ‘end of life’ care. 

Finally:\u00A0Jo Whiley has said she \'could not be happier\' as her disabled sister Francis is set to receive her first Covid-19 vaccination, a month after the virus left her \'fighting for her life\'

Finally:\u00A0Jo Whiley has said she \'could not be happier\' as her disabled sister Francis is set to receive her first Covid-19 vaccination, a month after the virus left her \'fighting for her life\'

Finally: Jo Whiley has said she ‘could not be happier’ as her disabled sister Francis is set to receive her first Covid-19 vaccination, a month after the virus left her ‘fighting for her life’

Speaking on her radio show on Thursday, Jo said: ‘My sister gets her vaccination this coming weekend.

‘It has been a long time coming.’

She continued: ‘You have to wait a month after you have had Covid but it finally comes this weekend so we could not be happier about that as well.’ 

In February, Jo revealed her heartbreak that she was offered the vaccine while her sister was desperately ill in hospital with the virus. 

Relief:\u00A0The radio 2 presenter, 55, revealed her excitement at the news that her younger sibling Francis, 53, will get her first dose of the vaccine this weekend, weeks after Jo herself got her own jab before her sister

Relief:\u00A0The radio 2 presenter, 55, revealed her excitement at the news that her younger sibling Francis, 53, will get her first dose of the vaccine this weekend, weeks after Jo herself got her own jab before her sister

Relief: The radio 2 presenter, 55, revealed her excitement at the news that her younger sibling Francis, 53, will get her first dose of the vaccine this weekend, weeks after Jo herself got her own jab before her sister 

Speaking at the time, she said: ‘I would give up my vaccine in a heartbeat, if I could, for my sister and any of the residents in her house to have their vaccine… it does not feel right.

‘She’s fighting for her life in hospital. It couldn’t be crueller.’

Meanwhile, last month she claimed Frances ‘refused to talk to [her]’ or her family when she was offered the Covid-19 vaccine first.

Making an appearance on This Morning, the BBC Radio DJ said her sibling’s reaction was ‘the cruellest twist’ and detailed how the situation was like ‘the worst disastrous movie’.

Battle:\u00A0Francis, who has a rare genetic syndrome called Cri du Chat, and diabetes, was left seriously ill last month after an outbreak at her care home, with her family even discussing \'end of life\' care

Battle:\u00A0Francis, who has a rare genetic syndrome called Cri du Chat, and diabetes, was left seriously ill last month after an outbreak at her care home, with her family even discussing \'end of life\' care

Battle: Francis, who has a rare genetic syndrome called Cri du Chat, and diabetes, was left seriously ill last month after an outbreak at her care home, with her family even discussing ‘end of life’ care

Happy news:\u00A0Speaking on her radio show on Thursday, Jo said: \'My sister gets her vaccination this coming weekend. It has been a long time coming\'

Happy news:\u00A0Speaking on her radio show on Thursday, Jo said: \'My sister gets her vaccination this coming weekend. It has been a long time coming\'

Happy news: Speaking on her radio show on Thursday, Jo said: ‘My sister gets her vaccination this coming weekend. It has been a long time coming’

Frances has a rare genetic syndrome called Cri du Chat – a chromosomal condition that results in delayed development. 

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.’

\'Could not be happier\': \'You have to wait a month after you have had Covid but it finally comes this weekend so we could not be happier about that as well\'

\'Could not be happier\': \'You have to wait a month after you have had Covid but it finally comes this weekend so we could not be happier about that as well\'

‘Could not be happier’: ‘You have to wait a month after you have had Covid but it finally comes this weekend so we could not be happier about that as well’

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. 

Adults with learning disabilities will now all be offered Covid vaccines as part of the top six priority groups, Britain’s health chiefs said in February 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. 

Anguish:\u00A0In February, Jo revealed her heartbreak that she was offered the vaccine while her sister was desperately ill in hospital with the virus

Anguish:\u00A0In February, Jo revealed her heartbreak that she was offered the vaccine while her sister was desperately ill in hospital with the virus

Anguish: In February, Jo revealed her heartbreak that she was offered the vaccine while her sister was desperately ill in hospital with the virus

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. 

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. 

\'It was the cruellest twist\': Jo claimed This Morning last month that her sister \'refused to talk to her\' when the DJ was offered the Covid-19 vaccine before her

\'It was the cruellest twist\': Jo claimed This Morning last month that her sister \'refused to talk to her\' when the DJ was offered the Covid-19 vaccine before her

‘It was the cruellest twist’: Jo claimed This Morning last month that her sister ‘refused to talk to her’ when the DJ was offered the Covid-19 vaccine before her

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\'

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\'

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’

‘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. 

‘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. 

Unfair:\u00A0At 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

Unfair:\u00A0At 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

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

Upset: Last month Jo shared her dismay and highlighted the \'irony\' at being offered a vaccine before Frances

Upset: Last month Jo shared her dismay and highlighted the \'irony\' at being offered a vaccine before Frances

Upset: Last month Jo shared her dismay and highlighted the ‘irony’ at being offered a vaccine before Frances

‘You put so much sedatives in her body, they took the sedation away and we just watched, and she fought it on her own.’

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 moved into residential care in Northamptonshire in 2015 after her ‘challenging behaviour’ resulted in her needing specialist care.

She was released from hospital mid-February, with Jo taking to Twitter to give an update on her sister’s condition, while also thanking NHS staff for their efforts. 

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. 

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