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Meet the 72-year-old giving back via the Covid vaccine

"I thought maybe we could harness that happy feeling to help people who have been affected by the pandemic," says Heather, who is spearheading the initiative

Heather Davidson is hoping to give back when she recieves her vaccine. Image credit: supplied

Heather Davidson is hoping to give back when she recieves her vaccine. Image credit: supplied

The UK’s vaccine blitz has already seen ten million people inoculated against Covid-19, with nine out of ten over 80s receiving their first dose. 

Most of us won’t pay a penny for our potentially lifesaving jabs, but one retired scientist has decided to give back when she finally receives her vaccination – and is trying to encourage as many people as possible to do the same. 

Heather Davidson, 72, from Edinburgh, is encouraging those who have had their first dose of the vaccine to donate £5 to charities helping people experiencing homelessness, food poverty and mental health problems. 

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The idea is simple. Once somebody has had their vaccination, they visit the ‘High Fiver’ website and donate to a list of five charities: Crisis, Mind, The Trussell Trust, Barnardos or Age UK.

Davidson chose the amount in the hope anybody could donate and wants to try and help those who have been impacted by the crisis in different ways. 

“I’ve been isolating since March and I’ll be very happy when I get the vaccine,” she said. 

“I thought maybe we could harness that happy feeling to help people who have been affected by the pandemic.”

Heather Davidson
Heather Davidson, a former molecular biologist, has booted up the High Fiver campaign

Davidson, who previously worked as a molecular biologist doing gene therapy for cystic fibrosis, has “roped in” family members to help her navigate the technology, something she said had been a “steep learning curve”. 

It’s now become a family operation including grown-up children Clara, Lisa and Gareth and ex-husband Brian, a former board chairman at NHS Lothian. 

They are hoping to start a viral campaign, where those who have donated post pictures of themselves doing a hi-five with the things they are most looking forward to after lockdown written on their hands.

Carla lisa gareth houston and heatherdavidson and the grandkids
A pre-pandemic picture of the whole family, who Heather says she has "roped in" to help with the campaign

Since launching the initiative in January, donations have been flooding in from across the UK, with more than £1000 raised so far. 

“We wanted it to be UK wide, because obviously if it’s only a fiver, you want to get as many people involved as possible,” Davidson said. 

Davidson hopes that as more age groups begin to get vaccinated donations will increase and the campaign will encourage more people to take up the jab. 

She added: “Because it’s the older people that have been vaccinated and lots don’t use online donations, we’ve been trying to get younger people to donate for their parents. 

“It’s only been about three weeks that we’ve been going, so we’re just really trying to spread the word.” 

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