British-Indian Couple Among 1st in World to Receive COVID Vaccine
“I am delighted to be doing my bit by getting the vaccine; I feel it is my duty to do so,” Shukla said.
UK-based Indian-origin couple in their 80s have become one of the first people to receive the vaccine against COVID-19 infection.
Hailing from north east of England, Hari Shukla, a 87-year-old doctor and his 83-year-old wife, Ranjan Shukla, became the first Indian-origin couple in the world to get the COVID shot after they were vaccinated at a hospital in Newcastle, as reported by IANS.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed it as a huge step forward and dubbed Tuesday the V-Day or Vaccine Day in the UK.
“I am delighted to be doing my bit by getting the vaccine; I feel it is my duty to do so and do whatever I can,” The Sun quoted Shukla as saying.
Before the couple, 90-year-old Margaret Keenan and 81-year-old William Shakespeare became the first two people to receive the first shots in one of Britain's largest immunisation programs, an unprecedented global effort to try to end a pandemic that has killed millions of people already.
Based in England's Tyne and Wear county, Hari Shukla, a race relations campaigner, was contacted by the National Health Service (NHS) based on the criteria set for the world's first vaccine to receive regulatory approvals in the UK last week.
“Hari Shukla and his wife Ranjan have become one of the first two people in the world and first two patients at Newcastle Hospitals - - to receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said.
Hundreds of OAPs and National Health Service (NHS) staff received the vaccine on Tuesday.
" I know how hard people at NHS have worked and I have 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," IANS quoted Shukla as saying.
“This has been a terrible year but I always had faith in our doctors and scientists. They are true heroes. I knew they would come to our rescue and I am just honoured to be among the first to benefit from their amazing work.”The Sun quoted Shukla as saying
NHS Chief Sir Simon Stevens said on Tuesday that the day marks a “decisive turning point” in the war against COVID-19 and there is now “cause for hope”.
Britain last week became the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. This will be the NHS’ biggest and most highly anticipated immunisation campaign in history.
“We will look back on today, V-day, as a key moment in our fight back against this terrible disease, and I am proud our health services across the United Kingdom are about to embark on our largest ever vaccination programme,” said UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
The vaccine is now available in around 50 hospital hubs across the country. Each of them has received an initial tray of 975 doses, which is stored at -70C and must be used within days of opening, reported The Sun.
The Pfizer vaccine was approved by British regulators on 2 December and the country has received 8,00,000 doses, enough to vaccinate 4,00,000 people. Another four million doses are expected by the end of the year.
Priority will be given to people over 80 years of age, who are either hospitalised or already have outpatient appointments scheduled, along with nursing home workers and vaccination staff.
The 8,00,000 doses are only a fraction of what is needed in the UK. The government is targeting more than 25 million people, or about 40 percent of the population, in the first phase of its vaccination program, which gives first priority to those at highest risk from the virus.
(With inputs from The Sun, PTI and IANS)
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