George Dyer, 90, becomes part of history as vaccine roll-out begins at Croydon hospital

George Dyer, 90, receiving the first Covid-19 Vaccine in Croydon. Pic: Dan Charity, PA Wire

George Dyer, born 90 years ago, a retired butcher and NHS volunteer from Purley, became one of the first people in the world to be vaccinated against Covid-19 early today at Croydon Hospital.

He was one of a number of Croydon residents who were given the vaccine at the roll- out began at selected hospitals around London and the rest of the UK on what Health Secretary Matt Hancock called “V-Day.”

George Dyer, 90, receiving the first Covid-19 vaccine in Croydon University Hospital this morning. Pic: Ali Fortescue/Sky News

In a pooled interview conducted by Sky News, Dyer said: “I watched the news and could see my friends in the hospital working harder than they ever have to care for people with this virus. I’ve felt helpless, but I’ve had to be sensible, so I’ve stayed put.”

“It’s like I’m about to be given a new lease of life and I cannot wait to get back out there and make myself useful again,” he added.

Sixty-one-year-old Pillay Jagambrun, an NHS care home worker from Hayes Court in South Croydon was also vaccinated this morning. He said that he felt “proud and privileged” to be called last night for his jab. He was one of about 190 people expected to get the jab during the day.

Pillay Jagambrun, 61, getting the Covid-19 vaccine. Pic: Dan Charity, PA Wire

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan paid a visit to the hospital this afternoon saying in a statement to Croydon NHS Trust: “You are news around the world for being the first Trust…to administer this vaccine. Thank you so much you are saving lives and making a big difference.”

A tweet from Mayor of London Sadiq Khan on his visit to Croydon University Hospital.

The first doses of the vaccine arrived at Croydon University Hospital over the weekend and were prepared for use by the Croydon NHS Trust’s pharmacy technicians.

Chairman of the British Medical Association Richard Vautrey said on BBC Radio London this morning that it is still not confirmed whether or not the vaccine prevents the transmission of the disease from one person to another. It is also not clear how long the vaccine will protect you from the virus. But he emphasised that the vaccine was a success in immunising the most vulnerable in the short term.

Approximately 50 hospitals across the UK have been giving out the vaccine today. The first vaccine in the world was delivered shortly after 6:30am this morning at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire to 90-year-old Margaret Keenan. Newcastle Hospital, the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast and a vaccination site in Cwmbran in Wales also began their vaccination programme today.

Wednesday 5pm update:

Matthew Kershaw, Chief Executive at Croydon Health Services NHS Trust said: “Yesterday (8 December) was a momentous day for Croydon but also for the country as we became one of the first Hospital Hubs to begin vaccinating people against COVID-19.”

He added: “Croydon was hit particularly hard in the first wave of the pandemic, so we’re delighted to now be playing our part in vaccinating the most vulnerable people in our communities and ensuring the safety of our patients, alongside our local people and our health and care professionals who have worked tirelessly throughout.”

What do I do if I am called for a vaccine? If you are eligible for the vaccine you will be contacted by Croydon NHS Health Services and given a time slot to come in. After receiving the first vaccination, you are given a card that tells you to return within 3 weeks for the booster jab. A week after this you should have immunisation from the virus. The card also includes a number to get in contact with if you are suffering from any side effects.

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