An 82-year-old retired maintenance manager has become the first person in the world outside clinical trials to receive the vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca.
Brian Pinker, a dialysis patient, received the jab at 7.30am on Monday from Sam Foster, a nurse at Oxford University hospitals NHS foundation trust’s Churchill hospital.
Pinker, who describes himself as Oxford born and bred, said in a statement issued by NHS England that the jab would give him peace of mind as he continued to receive treatment, and he was looking forward to celebrating his 48th wedding anniversary in February.
“I am so pleased to be getting the Covid vaccine today and really proud that it is one that was invented in Oxford,” he said. “The nurses, doctors and staff today have all been brilliant and I can now really look forward to celebrating my 48th wedding anniversary with my wife, Shirley, later this year.”
Foster said: “It was a real privilege to be able to deliver the first Oxford vaccine at the Churchill hospital here in Oxford, just a few hundred meters from where it was developed.
“We look forward to vaccinating many more patients and health and care staff with the Oxford vaccine in the coming weeks, which will make a huge difference to people living in the communities we serve and the staff who care for them in our hospitals.”
Prof Stephen Powis, the national medical director of NHS England, described the distribution of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine as “another turning point in our way out of this pandemic”.
He told BBC Breakfast: “Four weeks ago I had the privilege to be in Coventry for the first jab of the Pfizer vaccine – remember Maggie Keenan got that first jab – that felt like a huge moment in this pandemic and, to be honest, today, when I saw the first jab in the building behind me of the AstraZeneca vaccine, felt like an even bigger moment, another turning point in our way out of this pandemic.”
He added: “We’ve been preparing in the NHS for many months for the biggest vaccination program in our history. We’ve already delivered over a million vaccines of the Pfizer jab; now we’ve got the AstraZeneca one, so we aim to get it into people’s arms as quickly as it is supplied to us. If we get 2m doses a week, our aim is to get 2m doses into the arms of those priority groups.”
Asked what AstraZeneca had said about supplies, Powis said: “As the prime minister said, we’re aiming for tens of millions of doses by the time we get to April. This is a new vaccine, each batch will need to be looked at before it’s released, so that schedule will become clearer over the next few weeks, but, as I said, we are raring to go.”