Covid in Scotland: How do those waiting for a vaccine feel about Covid?

By Claire Diamond & Franchesca Hashemi
BBC Scotland

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In Scotland, those most at risk of dying or becoming seriously ill with Covid should now all have been offered a vaccine.

The government confirmed earlier this week that everyone over 50 or with an underlying health condition should have been invited forward for their first dose.

Now, the rest of the population is to be offered vaccines.

In most cases, this is younger people who are at a far lower risk - yet their lives have been affected by lockdowns and restrictions.

BBC Scotland has spoken to some of those in the lower risk groups about living under restrictions.

'Students were singled out' - Robbie Clark, 21

image copyrightRobbie Clark

Student Robbie Clark says his life has been turned upside down by the pandemic, so it's frustrating when young people are accused of not following the restrictions.

He felt students were singled out for spreading the virus - pointing to the weekend last autumn when all students were told to avoid hospitality after outbreaks at halls of residence.

"My uni is in Ayr, I stay in Hamilton with my mum - it's been entirely online for the full year," he said.

"The fact that all students were told to stay home, that annoyed me. Plenty like me have taken it very seriously."

He contracted Covid last March, and realises how bad it can be.

Six months on, he said he was still "knackered" after simple tasks. "It was horrible - it really knocked me back," he said.

Before the pandemic, he did casual shifts for a company that provided catering for the SEC in Glasgow. After months on furlough, he was let go.

This came as a double blow to the 21-year-old, as he was only entitled to half of the redundancy pay his older colleagues got because of his age.

Robbie has struggled to find another job - but finally has something lined up at a local pub.

'Consumed' with worry about spreading Covid - Oisín King, 16

image copyrightOisin King

Oisín King, 16, lives in a children's home with nine other young people. Over lockdown, it's been an "intense" situation.

"They're in the residential unit for numerous reasons that you don't know," he said. "So it was just all these care experienced young people being put into a unit and told you can't leave."

Oisín said he was looking forward to getting his vaccine, as he has been very concerned about catching Covid.

He understands the chances of him being very ill if he did contract the virus are slim because he's young, but he has been "consumed" with worry about passing it on to others.

He said he would feel as though he had "blood on his hands" if he did.

This worry has caused him to isolate himself from those around him, which has had an impact on his mental health.

He's also concerned about the impact the pandemic has had on his education.

Last year, his National 5s were cancelled. And this year, his Highers have been cancelled - replaced with grades based on "teacher judgement" and class tests.

"I'm in fifth year and doing my Highers. I'm leaving at the end of this year, so I've gone through my academic years without sitting one exam," he said.

"So I'm a little scared of going to college. It's a big jump up and I've not had any stepping stones."

'My career was ripped away' - Steven Robertson, 35

image copyrightSteven Robertson

Steven Robertson, from Inverness, was a music promoter - until the pandemic.

When lockdown started, he took a job in a supermarket.

"My career has been ripped away," he said - after spending 15 years building it up.

He managed to get a job in his local supermarket. Twelve hour shifts were spent stacking shelves as shoppers around him were panic buying.

"That's the kind of job I had after school when I was 16," he said. "Kinda felt a bit weird to go back to that."

He said his life was on hold and he was "totally fed up", but given that 10,000 Scots had died with Covid he didn't feel he could complain about the impact on his life without seeming selfish.

The last year had been "quite bleak", he said, but he felt positive about his future - with no sign of a return to his old career, the 35-year-old has begun retraining as an accountant.

'It's been really hard to stay on track' - Amy Smith, 18

image copyrightAmy

It's not just contracting the coronavirus that has had a negative impact on people's health, as Amy from Orkney says she knows all too well.

The 18-year-old says recovering from an eating disorder has been more difficult because of the pandemic.

"I actually struggle with anorexia, it's been really hard to stay on track," she told BBC Scotland.

"A big part of eating disorder recovery is going out to restaurants. Before the pandemic, I would usually go out every week. That helped me stay on top of things. But I've not been able to do that. So it's been quite hard."

And Covid has affected her studies, too. She has postponed applying to dance school in Edinburgh for fear she wouldn't be able to return home.

"I didn't know whether I would be stuck in Edinburgh all year or if I would be able to come home. I've decided to take a year out and further develop my dance training at home," she said.

She added: "I'm looking forward to getting the vaccine - hopefully to prevent me or anyone else getting corona."

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