Jo Whiley misses BBC Radio 2 show after sister hospitalised with Covid

Broadcaster has been campaigning for Frances, who has learning disabilities and diabetes, to be prioritised for a jab

Jo Whiley has missed her BBC Radio 2 evening show on Thursday after her sister, who has learning disabilities and diabetes, was admitted to hospital with coronavirus.

The broadcaster, who has been campaigning for her younger sister Frances to be prioritised for the jab, wrote on Twitter that her sister Frances had become “very poorly” since testing positive after an outbreak at her care home in Northamptonshire.

She said: “I don’t feel shiny or happy tonight, I feel very scared. However I’ll be listening to Will Young who I know will light up our kitchen in the depths of our darkness.”

I can’t do my @BBCRadio2 show this evening. My sister Frances is v poorly in hospital with Covid. I don’t feel shiny or happy tonight, I feel very scared. However I’ll be listening to @willyoung who I know will light up our kitchen in the depths of our darkness 💜

— Jo Whiley (@jowhiley) February 18, 2021

The news comes two days after she described “living through a nightmare” after being offered the coronavirus vaccine before her sister, who has the rare Cri du Chat genetic syndrome.

Whiley told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Tuesday morning that the care home where Frances is a resident had experienced an outbreak of Covid-19 last week.

“I can’t tell you how frustrating it is and how horrendous it is,” she said. “It is the stuff of nightmares at the moment. I feel like I am living through a nightmare. All weekend it has been awful – really, really difficult. It has been hard for my parents, it has been hard for everyone in the care home, and it continues.”

The DJ said she would give up her own vaccine offer “in a heartbeat” if she could so that her sister or any of her fellow residents, could have it instead.

She said the effect on her sister’s mental health had been “quite extreme”, and that Frances had been unable to see her parents.

Frances has also refused to talk to anyone over the weekend, and while she would usually call her older sister 30 times a day, she has not picked up the phone, Whiley added.

Speaking of being offered the vaccine ahead of her sister, she said on Tuesday: “I fail to understand, to be honest with you. She is in tier six but she also has quite bad diabetes, which in my understanding puts her in tier four because she has an underlying health condition, so I would have thought that she would have been vaccinated, but that hasn’t happened.”

Within hours of the interview her sister tested positive for Covid.

More than 16 million people in the UK have received their first dose of a Covid vaccine. The NHS initially targeted the top four priority groups, including people over the age of 70 and health and care staff, aiming to offer the jab to everyone in this group by mid-February – which it achieved on Sunday.


Nicola Slawson

The GuardianTramp

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