Editor's comment: Seeing is believing and the evidence is in front of us all
I find the story on today’s front page quite incredible. It is delightfully staggering and something we would be foolish not to take time to appreciate.
The vast, vast majority of over 45s in Sheffield have been vaccinated against a virus which we had not heard of just 18 months ago.
It has become such a dominant part of our daily lives since the beginning of last year that our success in protecting the population against it should not be dismissed too quickly with a turn of the page.
It is no easy feat doling out vaccinations to the country’s fourth biggest city.
It is being run like a military operation – with thousands of hours of voluntary time donated to it. How blessed we are to be in this position as individuals and as a city.
I had time this weekend to have long conversations with some more elderly or vulnerable friends, outside and enjoying a safe distance in the sun, this weekend.
With the kids back at school and organised sport in full flow, I hadn’t appreciated just how quickly I had slipped once more into the routine of mum’s taxi – balancing the hectic demands of family life.
My attention had been diverted away from the thousands of Sheffielders who have spent the last 13 months completely alone, frightened and dreadfully lonely.
Even after their second vaccines, they aren’t yet at the stage where they can head into social situations – and many of them may never feel able to do that comfortably again.
The lovely weather and small freedoms shouldn’t tease us into forgetting what we have gone through to get here, or the huge amount of work ahead to look after those who have been beyond the physical reach of the level of care they truly needed.
The numbers of people gratefully receiving the jab tells us a truly positive story in a traumatic era.
None of us will forget the skip, hop and jump we do – even if only in our hearts – as we leave the vaccination centres. It will stay with us because it is changing everything for the better.
We must keep following the rules and now is the worst time to take any risks so we’ll be sensible because we are so incredibly thankful for the army of Sheffielders giving up their time and using their expertise to get our city jabbed.