Charles admits he is ‘way down the list’ for Covid-19 vaccine

Rod Minchin, PA
·4-min read

The Prince of Wales has told staff administering the Covid-19 vaccination that he is “way down the list” for an injection.

Charles made the comments as he visited a vaccination centre at the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital in Gloucester with the Duchess of Cornwall, where the couple met frontline health workers administering and receiving the Pfizer jab.

Charles told staff: “I think I am way down the list and will have to wait.”

He added: “I think I’ll have to wait for the AstraZeneca one before it gets to my turn. I’m some way down the list.”

The prince also said that, as he had suffered with Covid-19, he has antibodies for the virus.

Charles and Camilla were taken on a tour of the centre by Deborah Lee, chief executive of the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust, and chief nurse Professor Steve Hams, who is managing the vaccination programme in Gloucestershire.

The Prince of Wales meets with front line health and care workers administering and receiving the Covid-19 vaccine (Chris Jackson/PA)
The Prince of Wales meets frontline health and care workers administering and receiving the Covid-19 vaccine (Chris Jackson/PA)

Since the jab was rolled out across the country, the trust has vaccinated more than 1,300 staff from NHS organisations across the county, including care homes.

Among the first wave of staff to be vaccinated were those with underlying health conditions and those from BAME communities.

The prince and duchess, who both wore masks and protective glasses, previously visited the hospital in June this year – the first engagement outside a royal residence by any member of the royal family following the first national lockdown.

Before departing, they unveiled a plaque to mark their visit.

The Prince of Wales told NHS staff that he was 'way down the list' for the vaccine (Chris Jackson/PA)
The Prince of Wales told NHS staff he is ‘way down the list’ for the vaccine (Chris Jackson/PA)

Coral Boston, a senior infection control nurse and the hospital trust’s equality, diversity and inclusion lead, said afterwards: “I spoke to both of them, Charles especially.

“He talked about the disproportionate numbers of BAME people that Covid affected and how important it was for people of colour to have the vaccination.

“It was great that he acknowledged that.

“It meant such a lot. It’s just a feeling that they appreciate what you do, and the support as well – to have somebody of that level, I was in awe.”

Mrs Boston, who was vaccinated herself on Thursday, added: “I don’t want to see any more deaths, I don’t want to see any more of my colleagues end up in ITU.

“So it was really important that he acknowledged and knew about the fact that people of colour were dying and people of colour were more affected by the virus.

“It was important for me to have the vaccine. I encourage other people that look like me to have the vaccination.

“If you want to protect your family and support the staff of the NHS, they are dealing with a huge amount of work. It’s hard for them on a day-to-day basis to break the news to a family.

“Its important that everybody who can have the vaccine has the vaccine.”

Coronavirus – Thu Dec 17, 2020
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall unveil a plaque to commemorate their visit to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital (Chris Jackson/PA)

The trust retains its links with Gloucestershire-born physician Dr Edward Jenner, who discovered vaccines and created the smallpox vaccine.

Trust chief executive Ms Lee invited Charles and Camilla to unveil a plaque to mark their visit and said the hospital “walked on the shoulders” of Dr Jenner.

“We feel very privileged to be one of the first centres to mobilise this programme. We’ve all seen the heartache and the sadness that has affected so many of our colleagues and also the community,” she said.

“To be at the forefront of the programme that brings hope and to have you with us to enjoy this moment means the absolute world to us.”

Prof Hams said afterwards: “It’s been an incredible boost. The whole team are really grateful that their Royal Highnesses came to visit us today.

“We’ve worked incredibly hard over the last 10 days to get us up and running.

“I was just amazed at how warm and friendly they both were. They were talking about the vaccine, how we store it, how we put it together, the number of people that have been vaccinated, and any side-effects.

“They also spoke about priority groups, and they were really clear in saying that they were not old enough yet, which is good for them. They are not first in the queue just yet.

“I have called this the vaccine of hope because we’ve had a really difficult 12 months and I have personally seen the sadness and the upset and the destruction this awful virus has played on our communities and our colleagues.

“This is a really important step. What we do know is that it takes more than a vaccine to protect us and Hands, Face and Space is still really important.

“The vaccine is the second line of defence at the moment and at this stage it is all about saving lives.”