A doctor at Boston Pilgrim hospital became the first person in Lincolnshire to receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday.
The Oxford vaccine was approved for use from Monday, January 4 with 82-year-old Brian Pinker the first to receive it at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford that day.
United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust is among the first trusts in the country to be offered this vaccination and nurse Rachel Carritt gave the jab to Dr Mi Joo Choi, who works in Intensive Care Unit in Boston, on Tuesday, January 5.
Dr Choi told the BBC: “I’m very honoured. I’m very grateful. I was not expecting it actually.
“I would just like to say thank you to everyone who has worked extremely hard to get this vaccine available for us.”
Over 7,000 doses of the vaccine are expected to arrive at GP surgeries across the county this week, on top of more than 6,000 Pfizer vaccines administered in Lincolnshire so far.
Staff from across the Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust who received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine included safeguarding nurse Richard Painter, a maintenance team leader, a consultant and a married couple.
Safeguarding nurse Richard, 54, who lives in South Cave, said: “I feel quite emotional about having the vaccine, I had a kidney transplant five years ago and the medication I take dampens my immune system.
“Today (Tuesday) is massive for me as COVID-19 has the potential to kill me or make me seriously ill. I feel very lucky to have it so soon.”
Deputy outpatients manager, Vicky Kocheril-Johny and her husband, medical laboratory assistant James Duthrie, both aged 56, have worked at the hospital for 16 years and were also given the vaccine on January 5.
Vicky said: “I am so humbled to be one of the first at the trust to receive the vaccine. I feel privileged and hope many others can have theirs as soon as possible.
“The pandemic made 2020 difficult for so many, but I am hopeful the approved vaccines will bring our community and the country some normality by spring time.”
James added: “It is incredible to have my vaccine and be part of this ground-breaking achievement. I work in one of the laboratories and part of my role includes testing COVID-19 samples, so I am extremely pleased to receive my vaccine.”
Peter Reading, chief executive at NLaG, said: “We are proud to be playing our part in the national effort to protect people from this virus, however, we cannot let our guard down now and even those who have received a vaccine still need to follow the guidance around social distancing and hand hygiene.”
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation recommend that priority is given to frontline staff “at high risk of acquiring infection, at high individual risk of developing serious disease, or at risk of transmitting infection to multiple vulnerable persons or other staff in a healthcare environment.”