Queen, 94, ‘to get Covid vaccine in weeks’ along with Prince Philip, 99

The Queen is expected to receive the Covid-19 vaccine within weeks – and then reveal she has been given it to encourage more people to take up the vital jab.

Senior sources say both the 94-year-old Monarch and Prince Philip, 99, will not get preferential treatment, but will instead ‘wait in line’ during the first wave of injections reserved for the over-80s and care home residents. 

Both are expected to accept the offer of the injection on the advice of their doctors.

Public health experts believe that if the couple go public about the jab, it could go a long way to combating misinformation spread by conspiracy theorists which, it’s feared, could lead to a substantial proportion of the population refusing the vaccine.

The Queen (pictured with Prince Philip) is expected to receive the Covid-19 vaccine within weeks – and then reveal she has been given it to encourage more people to take up the vital jab

The Queen (pictured with Prince Philip) is expected to receive the Covid-19 vaccine within weeks – and then reveal she has been given it to encourage more people to take up the vital jab

The Queen (pictured with Prince Philip) is expected to receive the Covid-19 vaccine within weeks – and then reveal she has been given it to encourage more people to take up the vital jab

Senior sources say both the 94-year-old Monarch and Prince Philip , 99, (pictured together) will not get preferential treatment, but will instead 'wait in line' during the first wave of injections reserved for the over-80s and care home residents

Senior sources say both the 94-year-old Monarch and Prince Philip , 99, (pictured together) will not get preferential treatment, but will instead 'wait in line' during the first wave of injections reserved for the over-80s and care home residents

Senior sources say both the 94-year-old Monarch and Prince Philip , 99, (pictured together) will not get preferential treatment, but will instead ‘wait in line’ during the first wave of injections reserved for the over-80s and care home residents

Discussions are also under way about the potential roles that could be played by Prince Charles and Prince William in publicising the vaccination programme. 

But courtiers are wary that doing so might be seen as ‘politicising’ the family, as well as amounting to an invasion of their medical privacy.

However, the participation of the Queen in backing the jabs would be seen as a rallying cry to the nation. In 1957, she let it be known that Charles and Princess Anne had been given polio jabs to counter fears about the vaccine.

The possible role of the Royals is being discussed at Buckingham Palace and in Whitehall, where officials are debating whether widely respected celebrities such as Sir David Attenborough and Dame Judi Dench could also be deployed as public cheerleaders for the vaccine.

To avoid any accusations of favouritism, senior members of the Royal Family will be offered the vaccine at the same time as others in their age groups.

Discussions are also under way about the potential roles that could be played by Prince Charles and Prince William (pictured last month) in publicising the vaccination programme

Discussions are also under way about the potential roles that could be played by Prince Charles and Prince William (pictured last month) in publicising the vaccination programme

Discussions are also under way about the potential roles that could be played by Prince Charles and Prince William (pictured last month) in publicising the vaccination programme

The Queen - who is in residence at Windsor Castle - spoke to diplomats via video link this month

The Queen - who is in residence at Windsor Castle - spoke to diplomats via video link this month

The Queen – who is in residence at Windsor Castle – spoke to diplomats via video link this month

It means the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are unlikely to be vaccinated until next year when those in their 30s are invited for jabs.

Sources last night said the couple ‘are keen to support everyone who has been involved’.

William has been closely following progress of the vaccine being developed by a team at Oxford University. He visited their research laboratory in June and last month publicly congratulated them when their jab was found to be 90 per cent effective.

Operation Courageous, the country’s biggest ever mass vaccination programme, will swing into action on Tuesday with most of the 50 hospitals that have received the vaccine by then giving injections. GP ‘hubs’ have been told to prepare to receive doses in the week beginning December 14.

The Queen and Prince Philip (pictured) are both are expected to accept the offer of the injection on the advice of their doctors

The Queen and Prince Philip (pictured) are both are expected to accept the offer of the injection on the advice of their doctors

The Queen and Prince Philip (pictured) are both are expected to accept the offer of the injection on the advice of their doctors

In other developments yesterday:

  • A further 397 new coronavirus deaths were recorded in the UK – down almost a fifth from last Saturday – with another 15,539 cases reported.
  • Official figures showed daily Covid-19 infections in England fell by almost half last month, from 47,700 at the start of the month to 25,700 by the end; 
  • Defiant shoppers embarked on a £1.5 billion Christmas shopping spree following the lifting of national lockdown rules; 
  • The boss of Pfizer, which helped develop the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine, criticised foreign critics of the UK’s rapid approval of the jab, as fears were voiced that a shortage of raw materials could hamper efforts to get 10 million doses delivered to Britain by the end of next year; 
  • Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer went into self-isolation after a member of his staff tested positive for the virus; 
  • Officials at NHS Test and Trace defended their work after a study suggested 50 per cent of cases in Liverpool had been missed; 
The boss of Pfizer (file image), which helped develop the world's first Covid-19 vaccine, criticised foreign critics of the UK's rapid approval of the jab, as fears were voiced that a shortage of raw materials could hamper efforts to get 10 million doses delivered to Britain by the end of next year

The boss of Pfizer (file image), which helped develop the world's first Covid-19 vaccine, criticised foreign critics of the UK's rapid approval of the jab, as fears were voiced that a shortage of raw materials could hamper efforts to get 10 million doses delivered to Britain by the end of next year

The boss of Pfizer (file image), which helped develop the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine, criticised foreign critics of the UK’s rapid approval of the jab, as fears were voiced that a shortage of raw materials could hamper efforts to get 10 million doses delivered to Britain by the end of next year

Meanwhile, vaccine trials for pregnant women will begin in summer, the head of Oxford’s immunisation programme said.

Until now, mothers-to-be had been told they will not be part of the UK’s vaccination programme next year – another blow on top of the failure of Covid tests to be rolled out to maternity wards, as we report above.

But professor Sarah Gilbert, project leader for the vaccine being developed by Oxford University and the drugs firm AstraZeneca, said that pregnant women were an ‘important group’ to include in clinical trials. Pregnant women cannot have the rival Pfizer jab which is being rolled out from this week.

Last night, Downing Street declined to comment on whether the Queen would be receiving a vaccine.

And a Buckingham Palace spokesman said: ‘Medical decisions are personal and this is not something we will comment on. 

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