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Date: 15 January 2021

Time: 21:43

Image: David and Shirley Lihou, who received the first Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at UHB

Pfizer vaccination programme starts at QEHB

Story posted/last updated: 15 December 2020

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination programme kicked off at University Hospitals Birmingham on Saturday (12 December) with husband and wife David and Shirley Lihou the first to receive the jab.

The couple, both aged 85 and from Harborne, were vaccinated at the same time in neighbouring cubicles in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham vaccination ‘hub’ at 11:45.

Shirley, who admitted she was “a bit apprehensive” before the injection, said afterwards: “I didn’t feel a thing.”

The couple, who met 64 years ago at the University of Birmingham when David was studying chemical engineering and Shirley was working in the music department, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this year but were forced to cancel their party and a cruise. Now they are looking forward to resuming their travels again.

Keen sailor David, who crossed the Atlantic when he was 75, said: “We try to go somewhere every month and we want to be able to travel. We’ve got a catamaran in Plymouth but we haven’t been able to go there for a long time.”

Shirley added: “We’re getting on a bit now so we need to make the most of it.”

They are also hoping to visit their daughter Joanne and two grandsons who live in Perth, Australia, next Christmas. The couple’s first daughter, Corinne, who had Down’s Syndrome, sadly died in 2004.

Another couple among the first patients to be vaccinated today were Santokh Singh Saran, aged 83 and his wife Hardial Kaur, 81.

The couple, from Selly Oak, attended the vaccination hub with their son Amarpal Singh Saran.

Mr Saran, a retired maths teacher who worked at Bishop Challenor College said: “Having the vaccine is a good precaution because we are vulnerable. It didn’t hurt at all. It was just a small scratch.”

Image: Santokh Singh Saran, who received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at UHB

He said he and his wife are looking forward to seeing his daughter and grandchild, who live in London, and that he is also hoping to go back to India to visit relatives.

University Hospitals Birmingham took delivery of its first batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 on Friday 11 December.

This initial supply of vaccines will first be offered to eligible patients over the age of 80 (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, Priority Group 1) who have opted to have the vaccine at their scheduled hospital outpatient appointment.

The vaccination programme will be rolled out more widely to health and social care staff and through the primary care networks as supplies are made available and operational details are confirmed.

As there are nationally agreed eligibility criteria for the vaccine, individuals cannot book an appointment until they have been contacted and formally advised to do so. Unless contacted, there is nothing that anyone needs to do at this time and they should not contact their hospital or their GP.

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