Britain’s 94-year-old Queen Elizabeth, who last month had her first COVID-19 vaccination shot, has encouraged the public to follow suit, noting that it did not hurt and those who were wary should think of others.
The queen and her 99-year-old husband Prince Philip, who is currently in hospital with a non-COVID infection, received their shots from a household doctor at the queen’s Windsor Castle residence, with their age putting them in the priority group for England’s coronavirus vaccine rollout.
“Once you’ve had a vaccine you have a feeling of you know, you’re protected which I think is very important and as far as I could make out it was quite harmless,” the monarch said in a video call with health officials overseeing vaccinations across the 4 nations of the United Kingdom.
“It was very quick, and I’ve had lots of letters from people who have been very surprised by how easy it was to get the vaccine. And the jab – it didn’t hurt at all,” she added, likening the virus to a plague.
At least 18.6 million Britons have already received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose, and celebrities including singer Elton John and actor Michael Caine have joined campaigns urging people to take up offers to get inoculated.
This week, Britain’s vaccines minister said that between 11% and 15% of the public were reluctant about getting the dose, particularly among ethnic minority groups, amid conspiracy theories around the vaccinations.
“It is obviously difficult for people if they’ve never had a vaccine because they ought to think about other people other than themselves,” said the monarch, who described Britain’s rollout of the vaccination, one of the fastest in the world, as “remarkable”.
Other members of the royal family, including heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles and his son Prince William, have been visiting vaccination centers over the last fortnight to thank staff and volunteers for their work.
It comes, though, amid concern over the health of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who was admitted to a London hospital last week and has since spent 9 nights there receiving medical attention for an infection which is yet to be specified.
The palace has said Philip, who turns 100 in June, was comfortable and responding to treatment, but likely to remain in hospital for several days.