A pensioner melted hearts as he revealed he’d had the Covid vaccine after ringing up his hospital this morning and asking for it – and said he was looking forward to hugging his grandchildren.
Chipper Martin Kenyon was interviewed by CNN as he left Guy’s Hospital in London, after becoming one of the first people in the country to receive a vaccination.
The 91-year-old said he’d phoned the hospital and asked for it this morning, and was now looking forward to hugging his grandchildren – but hadn’t yet told his family he’d had the jab, ‘because I haven’t had time.’
Mr Kenyon’s interview has amassed tens of thousands of shares across social media, with fans praising the ‘charming gentleman’ and labelling him a ‘treasure.’
But Mr Kenyon told the interviewer he nearly missed his appointment because he, ‘couldn’t damn well find anywhere to park my car so I was late.’
He said he had the ‘painless’ jab after a ‘rather nasty lunch’, adding: ‘I hope I’m not going to have the bloody bug now, I don’t intend to have it because I’ve got granddaughters and I want to live a long time and enjoy their lives.
‘I don’t intend to have it there’s no point in dying when I’ve lived this long, is there? I don’t intend to anyway.’
Mr Kenyon follows a Second World War submarine lieutenant, a young Northern Irish nurse whose wedding was cancelled due to Covid-19 and a Welsh care home worker with diabetes to be among the first people to get vaccinated in Britain today.
In the CNN interview today, Mr Kenyon, who said he has ‘daughters and grandchildren, says: ‘I rang up this morning and said, I’d like to be vaccinated. You’re vaccinating aren’t you? I’ve seen it on the news.
‘And they said well come at half past 12. Of course I couldn’t damn well find anywhere to park my car so I was late.
‘Anyway I’m here now; I got inside and they duly put me on the list and I went off and had a rather nasty lunch and then came back, and they were ready for me.
‘And no, it didn’t hurt at all – I didn’t know the needle had gone in until it had come out. It was very interesting, it was painless.
‘I hope I’m not going to have the bloody bug now, I don’t intend to have it because I’ve got granddaughters and I want to live a long time and enjoy their lives.
‘My family don’t know I’ve had it – I’m going to go home and tell them now. You‘re the first to know. They don’t know I’ve been yet today – I haven’t got time to ring up.
‘I don’t intend to have it there’s no point in dying when I’ve lived this long, is there? I don’t intend to anyway.’
Michael Tibbs, 99, being administered the COVID vaccine by Liz Rix, Chief Nurse.Michael Tibbs is the first person in the South West to receive the Covid-19 vaccination at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth
Sister Joanna Sloan is congratulated by her colleague Conor McDowell, as she becomes the first person in Northern Ireland to receive the first jab
Margaret Keenan, 90, returns to her ward after becoming the first person in the world to get the approved jab in Coventry
Shortly after Margaret Keenan, 90, became the first person in the world to get the approved Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine, Royal Navy veteran Michael Tibbs, 99, from Portsmouth, became the oldest.
In Northern Ireland nurse Joanna Sloan, 28, who helps run Belfast’s vaccination clinic, became the first person in the country to get the jab. While in Wales care home worker Craig Atkins, 48, from Ebbw Vale, became the first person to get the jab at the nation’s Cwmbran mass vaccination centre.
In Scotland, Clinical Lead of Outpatient Theatres, Andrew Mencnarowski, was first in line at Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital.
The Royal Navy hero who fought on D-Day and was the oldest person to get a jab on V-Day
A Royal Navy veteran who was on the front line in WWII has joined the ‘V-Day’ battle against Covid-19 by becoming one of the first people in the world to receive the vaccine against the virus.
Royal Navy veteran Michael Tibbs, 99 smiled and joked with nurses as he walked into the Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth as the NHS mass vaccination programme across 70 hospitals in Britain swung into action.
Dressed in a tweed suit and cardigan, he made his way into the hospital’s vaccination centre using a walking frame and accompanied by his son Philip, a retired GP.
Mr Tibbs, believed to be the oldest person vaccinated today, said: ‘I didn’t know what to expect but it’s absolutely wonderful and feel really fortunate to have the vaccination.
‘During lockdown I have been confined to the garden, however when things get back to normal, I’m really looking forward to seeing my grandchildren and great grandchildren. The vaccine will make a difference to everybody and we are so fortunate to have the NHS.’
Michael Tibbs, 99, rolling up his sleeve in preparation in receiving the COVID vaccine
Mr Tibbs pictured with his wife Anne, who died last year
Mr Tibbs told MailOnline: ‘I felt very privileged to be among the first to receive the vaccination. It was a doddle, completely painless, just like the flu jab.
‘There was a hell of a lot of hullaballoo at the hospital, with TV cameras, the chief executive and chairman all watching the fun. I don’t know how you’re supposed to feel when you’re 99 years old, but I feel fine.
‘In some respects, the way the nation has united in the fight against this virus is rather like the War, but the big difference this time is that the enemy is unseen, and you can’t just go out there and attack it as we did in the Navy.
‘I’m so pleased that I’ll be able to go out again and see my grandchildren and my two great-grandchildren. Sadly, the second injection won’t be until early January, so my Christmas will be the same as everyone’s – rather limited, but we’ll make the most of it. ‘
His son Chris, who works for NHS England told BBC Radio5 Live’s Emma Barnett: ‘I feel a sense of relief today. It’s been a constant worry that one of the family, several of whom work for the NHS, might bring the virus into the house, and he’s very vulnerable because of his age and we all know people who’ve died.
‘It is sad that people like my dad, and my family, who’ve spent the last nine months doing what we’ve been told, to protect ourselves and other people, while other people are prepared to go to warehouse parties, and we’ve seen what happens when it spreads in the younger population and then passes into the older generation.
‘That’s when we see people coming into hospital and people die because of the careless behaviour of some younger people. I know that sounds a bit fuddy-duddy, but I do think it’s very important that people understand the consequences of their own personal choice to seek a bit of freedom.’
A little bemused by the media attention, Mr Tibbs blinked in the flashlights, but smiled when he saw a nurse, and shook her hand as he entered the building.
Mr Tibbs, the son of a Royal Navy chaplain, served aboard submarine HMS Tantalus in the Far East, and recalled surfacing in Port Said, Egypt when news came to the crew that the Germans had surrendered on VE Day, but ‘V-Day’ as today was dubbed, was also a proud a moment for the veteran.
The vessel completed the longest patrol of any British submarine in WW2 of 55 days’ duration.
Mr Tibbs was among the first of millions of Britons who will receive the Pfizer vaccine as Britain was the first country in the world to give approval for the drug’s use.
After the war, Mr Tibbs went to Oxford then joined the Sudan Political Service which administered the Sudan as a joint protectorate with Egypt.
Michael Tibbs, 99, and his son Philip enjoyed a nice cup of tea together afterwards
At independence in 1954 he was a district commissioner. He gave a Sudanese TV crew a 4 hour interview to mark the 65th anniversary of independence. He is one of only two members of the service still alive.
In 1955, they returned to England, settling in Lynchmere, West Sussex. He worked for the AA for 10 years and was secretary of the Royal College of Physicians until he retired in 1986.
Since retirement he was Chairman of the Lynchmere Parish Council and continued to produce and direct the local pantomime
His wife Anne died last year after 67 years of marriage. He still lives in Lynchmere with his younger son Christopher and daughter in law (Sylvia).
During COVID he has found his confinement at home frustrating particularly as he would have liked to see more of his two great-grandchildren and spend time with his large circle of friends. Most frustratingly there is no pantomime this year, only the second time since 1947 that the village has not put on this traditional Christmas event.
Mr Tibbs told a Royal British Legion podcast about some of his remarkable wartime memories for the VE Day commemorations.
‘On our way home we learned in Port Said, there was a buzz going on about peace in Europe. ‘So sure enough, we discovered that was the day after we left there.’
‘On the way home, he and the crew held a service on board HMS Tantalus.
‘We dived to 60 feet, quite alone, and had our service down there. The captain made a little speech, and had our service.
‘He said that we were very grateful to be going home. And that our families would be very grateful that they were no longer threatened by these V1 and V2 bombs, and that we would remember our friends out in the Far East, still fighting.
‘By the time VJ Day came along. I was actually 1st Lieutenant of a small submarine up in the western isles of Scotland.’
Frontline Belfast nurse whose wedding was cancelled because of Covid
Sister Sloan gives a thumbs up after becoming the first person in Northern Ireland to get the jab
Joanna Sloan, 28, is sister in charge of the team of vaccinators for the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, Northern Ireland’s largest.
She received the jab at the Royal Victoria Hospital in West Belfast shortly after 8am on Tuesday morning, and said it felt like she had cleared the final hurdle.
The nurse, from Dundrum in Co Down, said: ‘I feel privileged and honoured and a little bit emotional that we have got here – very, very grateful.’
She felt ‘apprehensive and nervous’ beforehand.
As the vaccine was administered, she said she was thinking: ‘At last – we are here.’
Ms Sloan added: ‘Through everything that healthcare workers (went through), either in hospital or (the) community – people themselves losing family members, us losing colleagues – it felt like it was a huge moment and that this was and could possibly be the final hurdle in the fight against Covid.’
She is a former emergency department nurse and has been in her job for six years.
The nurse is engaged, but her wedding was postponed due to the pandemic.
Ms Sloan has a daughter aged five.
Afterwards, she said of the jab: ‘It did not feel any different than any other immunisation that I have had, I did not feel any pain.’
She said it had been stressful and hard work preparing for the moment.
‘We worked tirelessly to make sure that people are safe.’
Northern Ireland’s chief medical officer, Dr Michael McBride, said it was a remarkable day.
‘We can begin to look to the future with a degree of optimism, with this vaccine and other vaccines and more effective treatments,’ he said.
‘Hopefully in the future Covid-19 will become a more manageable disease and we will begin the pathway to a more normal life.’
Dr McBride added that he did not think this day would come so soon, 10 months after Covid-19 was discovered, as opposed to the more normal 10 years taken to develop vaccines.
He recalled the sacrifices and harm caused by the virus as well as the number of lives lost, and warned there will be more challenging months ahead.
Wales’ first was a care home caretaker with diabetes
This is the moment a scared and shaking Craig Atkins, 48, from Ebbw Vale, was vaccinated
Craig Atkins, 48, from Ebbw Vale, was the first Welshman to get the jab today, describing it as ‘scary’.
The care home worker described getting the vaccine as a ‘leap into the unknown’.
Mr Atkins, a care home maintenance worker, was vaccinated at the Cwmbran mass vaccination centre at around 8am.
Wales has the highest average Covid-19 infection rate in the UK, and recorded 2,000 cases yesterday for the first time.
He told the BBC that he was shaking as he waited for the jab.
He said: ‘It was scary’ – but admitting he smiled with relief when it was done. Mr Atkins is a diabetic and gets the flu jab each year.
He added: ‘I was the first to have this here today and it’s a bit of a leap into the unknown’.
Scottish NHS boss was all smiles as he beat countrymen to jab
A smiling Andrew Mencnarowski, a clinical lead for Outpatient Theatres at NHS Lothian, received the Pfizer-BioNTech jab this morning at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh
An NHS boss has become the first person in Scotland to receive the new Covid-19 jab – as the ‘milestone’ vaccine begins its rollout in the UK.
Andrew Mencnarowski, a clinical lead for Outpatient Theatres at NHS Lothian, received the Pfizer-BioNTech jab this morning at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh.
The hospital is one of 23 sites around Scotland which will carry out vaccinations against Covid-19 for priority groups.
Nicola Steedman, Scotland’s deputy chief medical officer, was at the Western General to see the first vaccines being administered.
She said: ‘I felt genuinely privileged to see this long hoped for and clinically crucial vaccination programme begin at NHS Lothian’s Western General Hospital in Edinburgh and I would like to sincerely thank all those involved in the vast amount of work which has allowed us to reach this absolute milestone in our Covid-19 response.
‘The arrival of these first Covid-19 vaccines is a huge turning point for us all and will protect those most at risk from the serious effects of the virus, but we can’t relax yet.
‘Even after the first people are vaccinated it will be important for now that everyone continues to follow the Scottish Government’s guidance for their area and, above all, to follow FACTS.
‘These will continue to be the most important things we can do to protect ourselves and others from the virus, as we continue to roll out the vaccination to all of those who need it.’