87-year-old Indian-origin man first to get COVID-19 vaccine in the UK


London (PTI):

An 87-year-old Indian-origin man from the northeast of England will become one of the first people in the world to get a vaccine against COVID-19 when he receives his Pfizer/BioNTech jab at a hospital in Newcastle on Tuesday.

Hari Shukla said he feels he must receive his first of the two-dose vaccine, a moment UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed as a huge step forward as Tuesday was dubbed V-Day or Vaccine Day in the UK.

"I'm so pleased we are hopefully coming towards the end of this pandemic and I am delighted to be doing my bit by having the vaccine, I feel I must do so and do whatever I can to help," said Shukla.

"Having been in contact with the NHS (National Health Service), I know how hard they all work and the greatest respect for them they have a heart of gold and I am grateful for everything they have done to keep us safe during the pandemic, he said.

People aged 80 and over, care home workers, as well as NHS workers who are at higher risk, will be first in line to receive the "life-saving jab".


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However, the UK PM struck a note of caution to warn that mass vaccination will take time and urged the public to remain clear-eyed and continue to follow the lockdown rules over the winter months ahead.

NHS national medical director, Professor Stephen Powis, has warned that the rollout of a vaccine will be a marathon, not a sprint.

The Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at -70C before being thawed out and can only be moved four times within that cold chain before being used.

General Practitioners (GPs) and other primary care staff have also been put on standby to start delivering the jab on a phased basis.

Vaccination centres treating large numbers of patients in sporting venues and conference centres will subsequently start-up when further supplies of vaccine come on stream, with a bulk of the rollout expected in the early part of the New Year. (PTI)