RECENT emphasis has been on protecting the elderly. Rolling out vaccinations to those in care homes and to the oldest age groups was the right thing to do. They’re the most vulnerable and require urgent protection.

I believe other vulnerable groups now need addressed, including teachers and police. Before we go further down the age ranges, maybe we should address those in critical jobs or with specific needs.

But minds must also turn to the young, who’ve suffered greatly and not just in the loss of schooling. Many years ago, I was on a family holiday in Croatia and chatting to the waitress in a café – she told how she’d missed out on formal education for several years during the Balkan Wars. I never thought anything similar could ever occur here, but sadly it has. The young waitress was bright and cheerful, and phlegmatic even about her experience, though that needn’t mean that all was well.

It’s not just formal education that’s being missed out on but life experiences. We’ve worried about cotton wool kids before this pandemic and yet now it’s so much worse. Fun and socialisation is lost and yet is pivotal for future life. Even the chance to make friends is curtailed. It’s time for attention to turn back to them. School re-opening can only be when it’s safe for all, staff and wider public, and it will have to be staggered – but the sooner the better to allow our young folk to live again.

It was World Cancer Day last week and I participated in several events. It’s clear that excellent medical attention is still being given to those diagnosed or seeking a check-up on noticing something amiss. But the worry now is those who aren’t either noticing a possible affliction or then seeking to have it checked. Data showed that the urgent treatment required was being delivered but to reduced numbers. It’s essential that we continue to check for lumps or other signs, and if we notice anything then have it checked out.