"I am delighted to be doing my bit by having the vaccine"
An 87-year-old Indian-origin man, Dr Hari Shukla, from the northeast of England, becomes one of the first people in the world to get a vaccine against COVID-19.
Dr Shukla from Tyne and Wear received his Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine at a hospital in Newcastle on December 8, 2020.
Hari feels it is his duty to receive his first of the two-dose vaccine.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the moment as a huge step forward as December 8, 2020, was dubbed V-Day or Vaccine Day in the UK.
Dr Shukla, who is a former GP, says: “I’m so pleased we are hopefully coming towards the end of this pandemic.
“I am delighted to be doing my bit by having the vaccine, I feel it is my duty to do so and do whatever I can to help.
“Having been in contact with the NHS (National Health Service), I know how hard they all work and 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.”
Dr Shukla was notified to receive his vaccine by the NHS based on the criteria set by the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.
Dr Shukla is originally from Kenya. His father who was originally from Mumbai, move to work on the railways in East Africa.
After studying at Exeter University, Dr Shukla returned to Kenya to teach. Subsequently, he was offered his first job in race relations in Scunthorpe. Then he moved to Newcastle in 1974.
A recipient of an MBE, OBE and CBE, Dr Shukla has been praised for his work on race relations and helping to bring communities together.
The NHS will be phasing out a rollout plan based on those at the highest risk of death from the deadly virus.
People aged 80 and over, care home workers, as well as NHS workers who are at higher risk, will be first in line to receive the “life-saving jab”.
Boris Johnson announced: “Today (DEC 8, 2020) marks a huge step forward in the UK’s fight against coronavirus.
“As we begin delivering the vaccine to the first patients across the whole country.
“I am immensely proud of the scientists who developed the vaccine and members of the public who took part in trials.
“As well as the NHS who have worked tirelessly to prepare for the rollout.”
However, the UK PM struck a note of caution to warn that mass vaccination will take time.
Johnson urged the public to remain clear-eyed and continue to follow the lockdown rules over the winter months ahead.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock claimed:
“We will look back on today, V-day, as a key moment in our fight back against this terrible disease.
“I am proud of our health services across the United Kingdom are about to embark on our largest ever vaccination programme.”
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has gotten the green light from the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
The vaccine will be delivered to those of highest risk first and subsequently rolled out to the masses as bulk orders come in by January 2021.