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The first person Terrence Wilkinson, 84, an ex-professional footballer, encountered when he checked in for his Covid-19 jab at the mass vaccination centre at the Ashton Gate stadium in Bristol, was not a nurse or doctor, but Boris Johnson.
“It was a bit of a surprise,” said Wilkinson. And not an entirely pleasant one. “He’s not one of my favourite people. As far as I’m concerned he’s got a lot to answer for.”
But Wilkinson, from Radstock in Somerset, was glad to receive his vaccination. “It was fine. Not painful. It’s a relief really. You’ve got to do it. You can’t ignore it. Covid’s here and we’ve got to get rid of it. People should get the jab done. We’ve got to do our bit to help, otherwise God knows what will happen.”
He said his behaviour would not change. “I’ll still keep my distance. You’ve got to be sensible.”
During his visit, the prime minister said vaccinating the 15 million people in the top four priority groups by mid-February was achievable. “There’s no doubt that it’s a massively stretching target,” he said. “We believe it’s achievable and we’re going to put absolutely everything into it.
“Today, I think I can confirm that we’ve done roughly 40% of the 80-year-olds in this country already. We’ve done about 23% of the elderly residents of care homes.”
The goal is to vaccinate 10,000 people a week in the southern concourse of Ashton Gate, home to Bristol City FC. Day one, however, was steady at best with only “several hundred” people receiving vaccinations.
Irene Reynolds, 80, a retired office worker, from Weston-super-Mare, said she thought it would have been busier. “I am surprised at how quiet it was to be honest. I thought there would be queues and queues. I had to travel a little bit, but it is all for our own good, isn’t it? The great thing is I feel really reassured now. I am the first one to get it out of my friends,” she said.
Sue Jones, a retired nurse from Clevedon, north Somerset, who has volunteered to return to help out, received her vaccination. “It is a gamechanger, although it will obviously take time,” she said. “It will be a while before we get through people that are high risk and get to people who are working age, so we all have to be patient.”
Jacqueline Corney, 56, a social care worker from north Somerset, was among the first to receive her jab at Ashton Gate. She said: “I feel privileged to be on the list to get it. I’m really happy and I think everyone should get it when they’re asked.”
She said she was missing seeing her elderly mother and eight-year-old grandson. “I see my mum sometimes as I’m in her bubble but it’s a bit scary. My grandson I haven’t really seen for three or four months, since the summer.”
Corney urged people to carry on following the rules. “I think people aren’t following the rules quite as well as they did before. There are lots more people out and about and not social distancing like they were before.
“People need to pay more attention. We only have a little while longer to go with this. We’ve only got to follow the rules for a short time. Then we’ll get the vaccinations and go back to normal hopefully.”
Source: The Guardian
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