Boris Johnson hails ‘very exciting’ Covid vaccine roll out during hospital visit

8 December 2020, 10:31 | Updated: 8 December 2020, 10:47

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Boris Johnson has met some of the first people to be vaccinated against coronavirus outside of clinical trials, describing the experience as “very, very exciting”.

Speaking at the vaccination centre at Guy's Hospital in London, the Prime Minister said it was moving to talk to Lyn Wheeler, who was the first to receive the vaccine there.

Mrs Wheeler, 81, from Bromley, was given the vaccine in front of Mr Johnson and when he asked her how it had been she said: "It's all for Britain."

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He said: "It was very, very exciting just to talk to Lyn about the vaccine that she has just taken.

"She is 81 and it is really very moving to hear her say she is doing it for Britain, which is exactly right - she is protecting herself but also helping to protect the entire country."

Boris Johnson applauds as Lyn Wheeler receives the coronavirus vaccine
Boris Johnson applauds as Lyn Wheeler receives the coronavirus vaccine. Picture: PA

Mrs Wheeler was given a round of applause after receiving the vaccination.

On Tuesday, the NHS became the first health service in the world to initiate a Covid-19 mass vaccination programme for a clinically approved jab.

Boris Johnson talks to Mrs Wheeler at Guy's Hospital in London
Boris Johnson talks to Mrs Wheeler at Guy's Hospital in London. Picture: PA

Jabs will be administered at dozens of hospital hubs across the country over the coming weeks and months.

The first person to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine outside a trial was 90-year-old Margaret Keenan.

Mr Johnson warned that, while the vaccination programme will make a "huge difference", it will take time to vaccinate everyone.

He said people should not be afraid of getting vaccinated, and that people objecting to having the jab are "totally wrong".

He said: "To all those who are scared (of getting vaccinated) - don't be. You have seen Lyn (Wheeler) take it, you have seen people take the vaccine this morning in large numbers.

"There's nothing to be nervous about.”

He added: "What I would say is that there are those obviously who feel that a vaccine is something they object to politically or for ideological reasons.

"I think they are totally wrong. It's safe, it's the right thing to do, it's good for you and it's good for the whole country.

"It's going to take a while. I urge people to contain their impatience."

Mrs Wheeler said it had been "lovely" to take part in the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

"It's all a bit unreal at the moment but it's lovely to take part in what I feel is very valuable work," she said.

"We have got to do something, we can't go on as we are. We can't continually go around being afraid to go to the shops or being afraid to sit on a bus."

She added she hoped that her having the jab will encourage other people to have it too.

She said: "You have got to realise that life is a bit if a risk and you can't keep hiding away, you have to stand up and go for things.

"I'm going for it because I feel there's no other way forward, we can't keep sitting in our houses."