An 82-year-old has become the first person in the world to receive the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine as a mass roll-out of the jab begins.
Brian Pinker received the jab at 7.30am on Monday from nurse Sam Foster at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s Churchill Hospital.
Mr Pinker, who has been having dialysis for kidney disease at the hospital for a number of years, said he was pleased to be getting protection against the coronavirus.
The retired maintenance manager said the jab would give him peace of mind as he continues to receive treatment, and he is now 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,” Mr Pinker 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.”
Alongside Mr Pinker, music teacher and father-of-three Trevor Cowlett, 88, and Professor Andrew Pollard, a paediatrician working at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust who also pioneered the Oxford jab, were among the first to be vaccinated.
Prof Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group and chief investigator of the Oxford Vaccine Trial, said: "It was an incredibly proud moment for me to have received the actual vaccine that the University of Oxford and the AstraZeneca teams have worked so hard to make available to the UK and the world.”
Sam Foster, chief nursing officer at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who administered the vaccine to Mr Pinker, 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 metres from where it was developed.”
Hundreds of new vaccination sites are set to open this week, joining the 700 already in operation, to administer the first 500,000 doses of the new vaccine.
The first Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccinations will be delivered in Oxford and at five other hospital trusts – two in London, and the others in Sussex, Lancashire and Warwickshire – to allow for monitoring before the bulk of supplies are sent to hundreds of GPs later this week.
Last week, regulators and the four UK chief medical officers announced that the gap between first and second doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine should be lengthened to 12 weeks rather than the 21 days initially planned so more people can be protected faster.
This has been defended by the UK's four chief medical officers following criticism, including from the British Medical Association (BMA).
The Oxford/AstraZeneca jab is easier to transport and store than the Pfizer vaccine, which needs cold storage of around -70C.
Because it can be stored at fridge temperatures, between 2C and 8C, it is easier to distribute to care homes and other locations across the UK.
Additional reporting by PA