‘I’m delighted to get Covid-19 vaccine - I’ve been under house arrest since March’ says Cambridge patient
Some of the first people to be given the Covid-19 vaccine in Cambridge have told of their delight and relief.
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust is among those administering the jabs from Pfizer/BioNtech.
The national roll-out began on Tuesday with 70 ‘hospital hubs’, which include North West Anglia Foundation Trust too. Some GP practices are also now getting in touch with those on the priority list for vaccination.
Care home residents and their carers are top of the list, followed by those aged over 80 and frontline health and social care workers.
On Wednesday, 81-year-old company director Stuart Darling, who lives with his wife Gill in Cambridge, got his first jab - the second follows after three weeks.
He said: “I was delighted to get the appointment because I have multiple medical conditions and am extremely vulnerable – if I get Covid my chances aren’t good. I did not have any doubts at all about having it, because on balance I’m going to be safer. I’m also convinced it has been well tested.
“My wife and I have been at home since March and have literally done nothing except walk a mile a day and attend medical appointments. Now we’re looking forward to being a bit more adventurous!”
The former head of the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Sir Keith Peters, 82, has also had his first jab.
“I was overjoyed when I got the news because I have been under ‘house arrest’ since March, and now I see the prospect of getting out and about,” said the retired physician who has a special interest in immunology.
“This vaccine is very safe and I feel privileged to live in Cambridge near a world-class medical facility which has put in place a well-organised vaccination programme at very short notice.”
Retired Cambridge carpenter, David Dunn, 80, has also been vaccinated.
“I got a text from my surgery and was very pleased because I have various medical conditions and waiting has been stressful,” he said. “The first time I had to isolate was OK, but this time the weather won’t let me out much.
Mr Dunn, who arrived with wife Patricia, added: “I know it won’t be for a little while, but I am looking forward to giving my grandchildren and great-grandchildren a hug.”
The Rev Hugh Robinson, 85, and his wife Judith, 84 from the Kite area of Cambridge, who have been married for 63 years, were also considered high priority.
Hugh said: “We were delighted to get the news because we both have pacemakers and are potentially vulnerable.”
His wife, a retired nurse, midwife and health visitor, added: “It will make a fantastic difference. We’ve been locked down and not doing much since March.
“I’m looking forward to doing a bit of shopping!”
Her husband quipped: “We have given John Lewis due warning.”
Those receiving the vaccination will receive some level of protection around 12 days after the first jab but the best protection comes from a week after the second dose.
Vaccinations are being carried out at the Deakin Centre on Richard Howe Way, on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, beside the main Addenbrooke’s Hospital car park.
First to get the jab at Cambridge University Hospitals on Tuesday was a retired care home worker Elsie.
The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group confirmed to the Cambridge Independent that some GP practices are also now booking in patients.
A spokesperson said: “A number of local practices are starting to invite and book eligible patients in for the first dose of their Covid vaccine prior to its arrival next week; those invited will be patients over the age of 80, in line with the JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) recommendation.
“The NHS will let you know when it's your turn to have the vaccine. It's important not to contact the NHS for a vaccination before then.”
The full priority list for the vaccination is:
- residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
- all those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
- all those 75 years of age and over
- all those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals[footnote 1]
- all those 65 years of age and over
- all individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
- all those 60 years of age and over
- all those 55 years of age and over
- all those 50 years of age and over
Clinical trials showed the vaccine developed Pfizer/BioNTech is safe, well tolerated and 95 per cent effective.
The health regulator has said, however, that people with a history of life-threatening allergic reactions to a vaccine or food should not get the jab.
The reminder came after two NHS staff members who received the jab on Tuesday had allergic reactions.
The health workers, who are both understood to have a history of severe allergic reactions, were among thousands to receive the vaccine on the first day of the Covid-19 mass vaccination programme. Both have been recovering well.
Dr June Raine, chief executive of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), said: “Any person with a history of anaphylaxis to a vaccine, medicine or food should not receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. A second dose should not be given to anyone who has experienced anaphylaxis following administration of the first dose of this vaccine.
“Anaphylaxis is a known, although very rare, side effect with any vaccine. Most people will not get anaphylaxis and the benefits in protecting people against Covid-19 outweigh the risks.”
Dr Raine added: “You can be completely confident that this vaccine has met the MHRA’s robust standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.
“The safety data has also been critically assessed by the government’s independent advisory body, the Commission on Human Medicines. No vaccine would be approved unless it meets these stringent standards – on that you can be sure.”