Brit, 87, ‘excited’ to be the first in world to get Covid jab on ‘V-Day’

A British grandad is set to be the first person in the world to be vaccinated against coronavirus.

Campaigner Dr Hari Shukla is "excited" to be the first to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on Tuesday.

His appointment to get the jab will be at 8am at the Royal Infirmary in Newcastle, it will make him the first person in the North East to get the vaccine.

The pensioner who lives in Chapel House is looking forward to it – he said: "I feel very comfortable and happy to be the first one.

"As far as I'm concerned, I'm excited about it.

"We were waiting for this vaccine for a very long time."

The race relations campaigner's wife Ranju Shukla will also be lining up to get the shot on Tuesday morning.

He added: “I’m so pleased we are hopefully coming towards the end of this pandemic and 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 staff, I know how hard they all work and I am grateful for everything they have done to keep us safe during the pandemic.”

Although he will be the first to get the jab, Dr Shukla hopes that many others will follow his example, reports Chronicle Live.

"We hope that everybody will participate in it and get back to next to normal.

"I have been following the news and our scientists have done a wonderful job.

"I have no doubt in my mind they are the best in the world."

Despite receiving the vaccine which is expected to offer protection after a second dose is given, the grandfather-of-nine says he will delay reuniting with members of his extended family.

  • First pictures of Covid vaccine in UK hospitals ahead of rollout 'in two days'

"Right from the beginning we have said we have got to be careful.

"We will reunite with family when we are allowed to do that, at the moment we are in the lockdown.

"We are not going to rush into it.

"At the moment we keep in touch through the phone."

Dr Shukla is from Kenya where his father, originally from Bombay, had moved to work on the railways.

He studied at Exeter University, returned to Kenya to teach then was offered his first job in race relations in Scunthorpe before moving to Newcastle in 1974.

Dr Shukla has been awarded an MBE, OBE and CBE for his work on race relations and helping to bring communities together.

The vaccine will be offered to over-80s outpatients, NHS staff and care home staff during the first phase of the vaccination programme.

All those vaccinated will need a second dose of the vaccine 21 days after the first.

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