The Duchess of Cornwall has said she suffered no side effects from her Covid-19 jab, and it was painless even though she dislikes needles.
Camilla continued the royal family’s prominent support of the UK’s vaccination rollout as she carried out an official engagement at St Paul’s Church, Croydon, which is being used as a centre for administering the injections.
The duchess also spoke about the Duke of Edinburgh’s health, saying her 99-year-old father-in-law was “slightly improving”.
She said of Philip, who has spent 15 nights in hospital and is undergoing tests for a pre-existing heart condition: “We heard today that he’s slightly improving. So that’s very good news. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.”
Camilla, who had her first coronavirus jab last month, like the Prince of Wales, spoke to NHS staff, administrators and volunteer marshals, and met members of the public receiving their injections.
The duchess, who was wearing a medical face mask and a pink tweed Anna Valentine coat, chatted to Dr Agnelo Fernandes, a GP leading the vaccination process, about her own vaccination.
“No side effects and it didn’t hurt and I’m not a lover of needles,” Camilla remarked.
She joked to staff: “Have you had anyone sitting down and then legging it out of the room yet? No? Good.”
The duchess asked: “Are you having a lot of numbers coming in? What are your main problems?”
Told misinformation was an obstacle, Camilla replied: “Social media is an issue, isn’t it?
“The misinformation put out there – it just helps talking to your friends and colleagues about how easy it was.
“It may encourage them. It’s good to see the community leading by example.”
The royal family has been vocal in its backing of the Covid-19 vaccination, with the Queen encouraging those hesitant about it to “think about other people rather than themselves”.
In January, Buckingham Palace took the rare step of confirming the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh had both had their first dose of the vaccine, and Clarence House confirmed the same for Charles and Camilla a month later.
The Duke of Cambridge has warned against “rumours and misinformation” on social media about coronavirus jabs.
Camilla spoke to frontline care worker for the elderly Sabina Eze, 51, who told the duchess she had put off having the vaccine as she was scared of needles.
“I am really afraid of needles but all my colleagues have been pushing me to do it, so here I am,” Ms Eze said.
“I have to do it now. It’s the responsible thing to do.”
Dr Fernandes said the practices had done a tremendous job in getting the vaccination process up and running.
“It’s not easy because this is a deprived area and we have a high ethnic population as well,” he said.
“We have a high degree of hesitancy as well. But despite that we have been doing really well.”
He said they were dealing with a rate of about 30% of people who did not want to take the vaccine.
“We are working on different ways of combating this, with community leaders and faith leaders, giving them information to make an informed choice,” Dr Fernandes added.
“There is so much disinformation and conspiracy theories. I am on several BAME groups and what is out there, particularly on social media, is just shocking.”
He said they were able to vaccinate about 400 to 500 people a day with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, but fewer with the Pfizer/BioNTech, given the time patients needed to wait afterwards.