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‘Light at the end of tunnel’ after 300 days in lockdown

TYRONE disability rights campaigner Dermot Devlin has now been in lockdown at his rural home for more than 300 days, far longer than the two or three months which he had originally envisaged.
 
But, as he fast approaches the first anniversary of the seclusion, the Greencastle man is finally daring to hope that the imminent vaccination of those like him who are considered clinically vulnerable will bring light at the end of the tunnel.
 
Last June, Mr Devlin, who runs My Way Access, felt that coronavirus could “be the end of me” and he isn’t taking any chances amid the current lockdown aimed at halting the spread of a more virulent variant.
 
“My hope is that the lockdown that I’ve been in is finally looking like coming to an end with the arrival of the vaccine,” he said.
 
“This new lockdown has probably been tougher than last spring because there hasn’t been the same opportunities to go outside due to the shorter evenings and poor weather. 
 
“The R number has also been a lot higher since Christmas, with a rise in infections as well.
 
“At the same time, I’ve made it this far and adapted to the different situations. 
 
“I’m quite fortunate to be in a bubble with my family and have a good collection of friends on Zoom who are keeping me going.”
 
Mr Devlin believes that he may receive the vaccine in phase two of the programme, which is expected to begin next month.
 
“Before now, there hasn’t been any talk about vaccines and now we’re at the start where people are starting to get the jab,” he added.
 
“The new variant makes you fearful of the consequences if you did contract the virus and there’s no doubt that it would be quite dangerous. 
 
“But at least we know that the vaccine is relatively close at hand and would offer protection.
 
“I’m a bit more confident this week than even last week. It’s impossible to forecast how I’ll feel to get the vaccine. 
 
“I’d say, in the short term, I will keep to my own restrictions and then start to widen my bubble just a little bit more.
 
“There will be others who haven’t got the vaccine who will still be at risk, so it’s my job to protect them as well. 
 
“It’s important that we keep social distancing, wearing our face coverings and washing our hands, but at least there is now that light at the end of the tunnel.”

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