William is proud of Queen and Philip for having Covid-19 vaccine

PA

The Duke of Cambridge has expressed his pride at the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh having their Covid-19 vaccinations.

William spoke about his grandparents after being told medics have witnessed "vaccine hesitancy" among some communities during the jab rollout.

And the future king stressed the importance of all members of society taking up the vaccine when offered it, during a video chat with NHS staff and volunteers.

The duke also hailed the "monumental" success of the major jab programme and praised the efforts of staff working around the clock including GPs, pharmacists, vaccine teams and crowd control volunteers.

Five NHS staff and volunteers from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland involved in delivering the Covid-19 vaccine were chosen for a morale-boosting video chat with the future king on Thursday.

Dr Nikki Kanani, a GP in south-east London and medical director of Primary Care for NHS England and NHS Improvement, described how important it was for patients to take up their jab appointments.

She told the duke: "We do have vaccine hesitancy in some groups. It is really important to get into communities, ethnically diverse communities, and more deprived communities to say 'this is your vaccine as well, it's for everyone not just for some communities'. Getting that uptake is really important."

Dr Kanani stressed that while the vulnerable and others were being vaccinated the rest of the country should continue to following coronavirus guidelines as we were not in the position where "we can hug all the people we want to".

William said: "My grandparents have had the vaccine and I am very proud of them for doing that. It is really important that everyone gets the vaccine when they are told to."

In a rare move, the Queen made public she had received her first dose of the vaccine last Saturday, along with Philip.

She took the decision to prevent inaccuracies and end speculation and it is likely to have the added effect of giving sceptical members of the public more confidence in the vaccine.

The duke praised the group, saying: "Huge congratulations to all of you for playing your part in such a monumental moment frankly, to roll out this vaccine.

"I think it's a hugely proud moment for the NHS and for the UK being able to achieve such a massive task."

The rollout, which is the largest vaccination programme in British history, has so far administered more than three million vaccine doses across the UK to the most vulnerable and those who care for them.

As part of the initiative hundreds of vaccination sites and hospital hubs have been established across the UK.

Dr Kanani added: "It has been an incredible piece of work between doctors, nurses, pharmacists, volunteers, admin staff, reception staff, people just pulling out the stops to do something incredibly difficult."

Dr Helen Alefounder, a GP at Rysseldene Surgery in Colwyn Bay, Wales, told William north-east Wales had been hit worse with coronavirus than the west.

She said "We are still seeing sick patients, are still having to deal with everything we would normally do as a practice and (are) very thankful to staff giving up their evenings and weekends to try and help vaccinate because it really is the most important thing we can be doing."

Bronagh Hegarty, a pharmacist at Altnagelvin Hospital, Londonderry, Northern Ireland, said people have "moved mountains day in, day out".

She added: "I've been down the mass vaccination centre, I went from ordering to seeing it put in someone's arm because a pharmacist has to be there.

"The enthusiasm and the vibe – 'lets get this done' – we are really making a difference. It is palpable and just lovely to be involved."

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