Camilla helps with coronavirus vaccine rollout

Tony Jones, PA Court Correspondent

The Duchess of Cornwall helped prepare Pfizer vaccines during a visit to an inoculation centre and had a brief encounter with a needle.

Camilla gently shook a phial of vaccine mixed with saline solution a number of times after Dr Russell Hearn invited her to join in the process during a visit to the Tottenham Vaccine Centre in north London.

She was told each bottle could inoculate six people and replied “Oh there’s going to be six! Goodness, it looks tiny. I always thought you got a whole one.”

Duchess of Cornwall visits Haringey
The duchess helps prepare a vaccine (Geoff Pugh/The Daily Telegraph/PA)

When the duchess asked if a precious bottle of vaccine had been dropped she was told “only one in 50,000” and replied “That is pretty good”.

Camilla, who was given her AstraZeneca jab earlier this year, said: “This is a much more volatile vaccine.

“They have to be kept at a very low temperature.”

During her time in the London borough of Haringey the duchess also met members of the area’s Muslim community during a separate visit to learn about their work supporting others during the pandemic and to donate Buckingham Palace corgi keyrings and royal stickers.

She travelled to the London Islamic Cultural Society at Wightman Road Mosque ahead of the start of Ramadan next week when Muslims fast from dawn till sunset for four weeks.

Duchess of Cornwall visits Haringey
The duchess holds a phial of Pfizer vaccine (Geoff Pugh/The Daily Telegraph/PA)

At one point during her tour of the vaccine centre based at the Lordship Lane Primary Care Centre she spotted a medical student volunteer holding a needle.

The duchess, who is known not to like needles, said “oh” and took a step back but Dr Hearn said: “Don’t worry, it’s not going nowhere near you”.

She spoke at length with Dr Hearn about how he and his team had done so well in administering the vaccine – they are due to give their 50,000th injection this weekend.

The duchess had been invited to the centre by the Mayor of Haringey, Adam Jogee, who has been supporting medical practitioners encouraging the take-up of the vaccine.

Duchess of Cornwall visits Haringey
The Duchess of Cornwall during a visit to the London Islamic Cultural Society. Chris jackson/PA

He told her: “It’s been amazing to see the hard work, the tenacity, the tears, the sweat that is going in to get everyone vaccinated.

“It’s a real pleasure that you are here to find out more about how we are getting our people safe.”

During her visit to the London Islamic Cultural Society the duchess helped pack Iftar boxes – the name of the evening meal eaten when Muslims end their daily fast – destined for child refugees observing Ramadan.

Wearing a headscarf with her face mask she dropped in corgi keyrings and packets of guardsmen sticker collections from the Royal Collection Trust gift shop before tying the bags up with a red ribbon.

Duchess of Cornwall visits Haringey
Wearing a headscarf and mask the duchess helped fill Iftar boxes destined for children observing Ramadan (Chris Jackson/PA)

Bibi Khan, the centre’s president, gave the royal a Koran inscribed to the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince of Wales, and when she was told the gift was printed in English, Camilla said “Oh good”.

She then added: “I am deeply, deeply touched by this as I am sure my husband will be too. I would very much like to bring him here in the not-too-distant future.

“You are a shining example and I wish there were more places like this in the country bringing the community and all faiths together.

“I hope I shall be back again.”

Ms Khan described how the centre began life in her late father Abdool Alli’s house for Guyanese Muslims in 1983, and now has more than 30 cultures and languages.

It holds prayers and community events and served as a pop-up Covid-19 vaccination clinic during lockdown.

Ms Khan said: “We have been working with food banks and helping the community delivering food parcels. These are the people who do it, some are businessmen, but they really allow us to be able to utilise their services at no cost.”