Jo Whiley has revealed that a friend of her sister died in her care home from coronavirus amid her campaign for people with learning disabilities to be offered the Covid-19 vaccine.
This week, it was announced that all adults with learning disabilities will now be invited to receive their coronavirus vaccine.
The announcement came following a campaign by BBC presenter Jo, who was shocked when she was offered the jab before her sister Frances, who has a learning disability.
Shortly afterwards, Frances contracted coronavirus, becoming so unwell that Jo and her family feared that she would die.
While just last week Jo and her family were discussing end of life care for her sister, Frances is now in recovery.
During an appearance on today’s edition of This Morning, Jo said that she is ‘very, very aware that we have been extremely lucky’, stating that several people in Frances’ care home tested positive for the virus.
‘I mentioned that there were six people in the home – one of them didn’t survive, one of her friends passed away a couple of days ago,’ Jo said.
‘So you can imagine the impact on the other residents in the house.’
Jo added that she has received several messages from ‘bereft siblings and parents’ who were unable to be with their loved ones when they died.
Speaking about the government’s decision to offer the vaccine to people with learning disabilities, Jo said it is ‘tremendous’ and ‘amazing’ that the ‘government listened’.
‘We’re all learning, this is a particularly steep learning curve. I don’t think any of us knew what it was like for people with learning disabilities, which is why it was important for me to tell my story and for other people to tell their stories,’ she said.
Jo also shared footage of Frances giving a thumbs up to the camera when she arrived home from hospital in response to the government’s announcement.
Frances was admitted to hospital after an outbreak of coronavirus at her care home.
During an interview on BBC News this week, Jo said her sister is ‘doing well’.
‘My parents are now looking after her. This is the first step in her recovery. It’s going to be hard work from here on in, but she’s doing great,’ she said.
This Morning airs weekdays at 10am on ITV.