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Terminally ill father says government is 'not considering' end-of-life patients
9 December 2020, 10:24 | Updated: 9 December 2020, 10:27
A terminally ill father of two has pleaded with Matt Hancock to let end-of-life patients be placed higher in vaccine prioritisation, saying he wants to spend his final months with his family and "do the little things without risk".
38-year-old Fred Banning was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer in February, and was told without treatment he would have just nine months to live.
The marketing consultant, who is a husband and father to two children under ten, has said he wants to speak to Matt Hancock after the coronavirus vaccine prioritisation list was released without mention of end-of-life patients.
His children have since set up a campaign for terminally ill people to be given priority access to the vaccine, which is being backed by several charities and politicians.
"I want two things, firstly some reassurance from parliamentarians that all of these exceptions and unusual circumstances have been flushed out when considering prioritisation," Mr Banning explained.
"I'd really like to have a conversation with Matt Hancock to seek clarification on where exactly those with terminal illnesses stand in terms of the hierarchy and whether he agrees with me that there is a case for giving the vaccine to people who don't have long to live."
Asked when he could get the vaccine, Mr Banning explained: "Well there is so much uncertainty over when vaccines will get delivered, your guess is as good as mine.
"But I think the crucial bit is that within the group it is everybody shielding, which is close to 2.7 million people."
Nick then questioned Mr Banning on whether he believes he should "skip the queue" and get the vaccine before a fit and healthy 80-year-old.
"I'm British, so jumping the queue is really the last thing I want to do," he joked.
"But really what this is about is asking the question to elected representatives over whether they have even considered this and give us some reassurance.
"What concerns me is looking at what has come out of government so far, it looks like there is a very sensible and effective strategy for pushing down the death rate, but does that take into account the unusual circumstances that exist.
"I don't want politicians to abdicate responsibility to the scientists when these kind of decisions are exactly what we have politicians for."
Asked what an extra 12 months with his wife and children would mean, Mr Banning said: "I think that's more than I can even dream of, but it's what I can do with those 12 months or however long.
"At the start of all of this we had plans around taking the children to lapland, going on big holidays.
"But I think if anything lockdown has helped us to appreciate the little things more.
"For me now, it's things like doing the school run without risk, going to the supermarket, going for a meal.
"When you don't have an immune system those little things become really big."