The Queen has said her Covid-19 vaccination “didn’t hurt at all” in a video call with health officials leading vaccine deployment across the UK.
“It was very quick, and I’ve had lots of letters from people who have been very surprised at how easy it was to get the vaccine . And the jab – it didn’t hurt at all,” she said.
The monarch praised the vaccine programme, describing its rapid progress as “remarkable”, and told the health leaders to “keep up the good work”.
She said: “Once you’ve had the vaccine, you have a feeling of, you know, you’re protected, which is I think very important. I think the other thing is, that it is obviously difficult for people if they’ve never had a vaccine … but they ought to think about other people rather than themselves.”
She added: “I think it is remarkable how quickly the whole thing has been done and so many people have had the vaccine already.”
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh received their vaccinations in January at Windsor Castle, where they had been shielding together until Prince Philip’s admission to hospital as a precautionary measure on 16 February. He is being treated for a non-Covid infection at the King Edward VII hospital in central London.
The Queen was speaking to the four senior officials overseeing the delivery of the vaccine in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. More than 18 million people have received their first jabs.
Dr Emily Lawson, who is leading the NHS England programme, told the Queen it was her hope that everyone offered the vaccination in coming months would accept it. In Wales, 100 GPs are operating vaccination clinics, and in Scotland 1.5 million people have been vaccinated.
Derek Grieve, the head of the Scottish government’s vaccine division, spoke about the challenge of ensuring that people in remote areas are not excluded. Cold storage facilities had been secured in Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles, he said, and coastguards had been instrumental in reaching some of the more remote settlements.
Praising the sense of community spirit during the pandemic, Grieve said: “If I could bottle this community spirit and use it not just for the vaccination programme but for other things, the job would be done.”
The Queen’s video call was part of a recent drive by members of the royal family to meet and thank key workers and volunteers involved in the vaccination programme.
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall met volunteers who were undertaking clinical trials for Covid-19 vaccinations at the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham last week, and Prince William visited a vaccination centre in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, this week.