William told of tears of joy from care home residents after vaccinations

The Duke of Cambridge heard stories of care home residents crying with joy and clapping for each other after having the Covid-19 jab, during a chat with medical staff involved with the vaccine roll-out.

Dr Lauren Dixon, a GP from Cumbria, told William about the happy scenes she had witnessed and how care home residents viewed the vaccine as their “ticket” to see family again after months apart.

The duke spoke to NHS workers across the four nations to learn about the programme to inoculate millions of the elderly and vulnerable.

During a break from vaccinating residents Dr Dixon, from the Bridgegate Medical Centre in Barrow-in-Furness, spoke of her surprise at being chosen to speak to the duke on Thursday via telephone.

She said: “I was just completely shocked, really nervous and he was just lovely and just really kind and grateful, and saying a really big thank you to everybody that’s in our area that have really pulled together to make the vaccination effort go as well as it has.

“He asked how the roll-out had gone, he asked what it was like going into the care homes and how did they receive us arriving with the vaccine.”

Dr Dixon’s practice is one of 10 that form the Barrow and Millom Primary Care Network that has completed inoculations for all its residents aged over 80 and 75, as well as care home residents, after beginning vaccinations in mid-December.

She added: “The care homes have had an absolutely awful time, they’ve really been through the mill over the last year.

“Some of their staff have just gone above and beyond for their residents, stayed all weekend sometimes because that’s what they’ve needed to do.

“So, I think for us, as soon as we had the opportunity to get out to the care homes we felt really excited. And then when we got there, you know the residents were just so happy.”

The 42-year-old married mother-of-two, who lives in her hometown of Barrow-in-Furness, added: “They’ve been seeing their relatives maybe on videos, if they’re lucky, and sometimes through the window. But they all were just kind of like ‘this is our ticket to being able to see our family again’.

“So we had tears, they were clapping each other when they got the vaccines and it was just a real privilege actually to be able to support them with that.”

Dr Dixon, in her role as GP Executive Lead – Integrated Care for NHS Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group, has also been supporting the vaccination programme across the Morecombe Bay area.