The Duchess of Cornwall has revealed she was given the AstraZeneca Covid jab and praised the vaccine rollout effort, telling a doctor: “You need to get people in.”
Camilla said it “didn’t matter” which vaccine she was given – and joked she did not ask because “I hate injections so much” during a visit to a pop-up inoculation centre in London with the Prince of Wales.
A string of European countries – including Germany, France, Italy and Spain – have paused the use of the AstraZeneca jab in their vaccine rollouts due to concerns over possible adverse side effects.
Some 30 cases of blood clots have been reported to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) by March 10 among almost five million people vaccinated, but additional cases had been reported over the weekend.
The EMA is conducting a full scientific review of the AstraZeneca jab, but has said it currently “remains convinced” that the “benefits of this vaccine outweigh the risk”.
The duchess spoke to Dr John McGrath, a GP, who was administering the AstraZeneca vaccine at the pop-up centre at Finsbury Park Mosque.
And she agreed with him when he said: “We want to get this vaccine into the arms of everyone. No matter of race, colour or creed.”
He continued: “And the way we do that is yes, you do it though your GP surgeries, your pharmacies, hospitals….but also through doing it in local communities..’
“You need to get people in,” said Camilla.
Dr McGrath asked the duchess which vaccine she had received and was told AstraZeneca, Camilla added: “Although it didn’t matter. I didn’t ask. I don’t even ask because I hate injections so much that I shut my eyes…. whatever comes out.”
In mid-February, it was announced that Charles and Camilla had received their first Covid vaccinations.
The heir to the throne, who is aged 72, and the duchess, 73, were – as over 70-year-olds – in the fourth priority group for the rollout of the jabs.
The confirmation came after the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were given their injections in January.
Dr McGrath, said afterwards: “I said to the duchess that our job, the doctors and the vaccinators, is that we are the delivery drivers, we are giving the vaccine to anyone who turns up.
“At the end of the day we want everyone to have this vaccine to stay protected.”
The mosque opened as a vaccine pop-up centre on Monday evening and inoculated around 100 people and will also be available at the end of the week for Friday prayers – the place of worship’s busiest period.
Charles was shown around by Mohammed Kozbar, chairman of the trustees of Finsbury Park Mosque, and when told it was good of him to visit replied: “Not at all. I think you are doing a fantastic job here.”
Mr Kozbar later praised the royal couple for coming, adding: “It will have a positive impact. This is a very diverse community here and it am sure such a visit will have a huge impact. Even for those who are still hesitant, when they see such a visit they will be encouraged.”
Liam Beadman, head of primary care development at North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group, said about the vaccine rollout programme: “A lot of this is word of mouth, which is why these community initiatives are so important. There is still a gap so we are trying to put on clinics in venues they trust and with people they know and trust.”
He said of the AstraZeneca vaccine: “The vaccine has been given to over 11 million people in this country. The evidence is that there is no greater incidence of blood clots than you would expect in the normal population.
“And one of the main symptoms if you get Covid badly is is that you get blood clots as well. That’s what causes people problems when they go into hospital.”