Her Majesty The Queen has taken part in a video call with health officials leading the deployment of COVID-19 vaccination across the four nations of the United Kingdom, as Members of the Royal Family continue to thank volunteers and key workers.
The Queen spoke to the four Senior Responsible Officers (SROs) overseeing the delivery of the vaccine in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, to hear about the collaborative effort which has led to more than 18 million people across the UK receiving a first dose of the vaccination, and the ongoing work to keep communities safe.
Dr Emily Lawson, who leads the COVID-19 Vaccine Programme on behalf of NHS England reflected on the achievements of the operation. Dr Lawson paid tribute to the way in which healthcare workers, Government officials, volunteers and the Armed Forces have worked together across all four nations to deliver the vaccine to every community in the United Kingdom.
Dr Lawson also expressed her hope that everyone who is offered the vaccine over the coming months will choose to accept it.
All four participants spoke of their immense pride in watching people pull together across the NHS, the Armed Forces and the private sector, at national and local level, and The Queen likened the effort to wartime.
Her Majesty spoke of being vaccinated herself, describing the process and straightforward and painless.
Recalling Her Majesty’s own vaccination, The Queen said:
It was very quick, and I’ve had lots of letters from people who have been surprised by how easy it was to get the vaccine. And the jab – it didn’t hurt at all.
The Queen's call comes after visits and calls from other members of the Royal Family in recent weeks.
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall
During a visit to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, The Prince of Wales thanked volunteers and healthcare workers, saying,
I know, over the last year it must be absolutely exhausting for so many of you, but I know the NHS is such an enormous team and there are masses of people who are unsung and unseen heroes and heroines.
The University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust is widely recognised for its clinical research facility and has recruited around 12,000 volunteers to take part in the COVID-19 clinical trials. They have just started the first UK study of the AstraZeneca and Pfizer combination vaccine.
Their Royal Highnesses also met dedicated healthcare staff who were receiving their COVID-19 vaccinations.
The Prince and The Duchess have been keen to support patronages which have been involved in the vaccine rollout. The Prince of Wales, Patron of the British Asian Trust, opened a conference to debunk myths about the COVID vaccine which are circulating in British Asian communities.
The Duchess of Cornwall, President of the Royal Voluntary Service, thanked RVS volunteers at a vaccine centre.
The Duke of Cambridge
The Duke of Cambridge visited a visited a vaccination centre at the King’s Lynn Corn Exchange in Norfolk, to pay tribute to the efforts and dedication of the staff involved in the vaccine rollout.
Our Armed Forces are playing a vital role in the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine across the UK. His Royal Highness thanked them for their work and found out more about their deployments on a video call:
Over 5,000 military personnel are currently committed to supporting the NHS in vaccinating priority groups, including helping to establish and operate vaccination centres and supporting testing in hospitals and the community.
The Countess of Wessex
The Countess of Wessex, Grand President, St John Ambulance, has undertaken her first shift as a St John Ambulance Care Volunteer at an NHS vaccination centre. The Countess has joined a growing team of over 10,000 volunteers who have been trained and deployed to NHS vaccination centres across England, as part of the extraordinary collective effort.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spoke to Shivali and Fiona - who both have long-term health conditions and have been shielding with their families over the course of the past year, and are now both eligible to receive the #Covid19vaccine.