Brian Pinker, 82, receives Oxford University / AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine from Nurse Sam Foster at Churchill Hospital in Oxford, England on Monday 4th January. Steve Parsons / Pool / AP

The first patient in the UK has received the Oxford University / AstraZeneca vaccine.

Brian William Pinker, 82, received the shot early Monday morning at Churchill Hospital in Oxford.

“I am very excited about today’s Covid vaccine and very proud that it was invented in Oxford,” he said.
“The vaccine means everything to me, in my opinion it’s the only way to get back to normal life. This virus is terrible, isn’t it? “

Pinker said he first knew he would be vaccinated on Saturday and was told he would be the very first patient. “It took me long enough to be a star,” he said.

The launch of the AstraZeneca vaccine began in the UK today and the country’s health minister described it as a “real defining moment” as Covid-19 cases continue to rise in parts of the country.

Head Nurse Sam Foster, who administered the vaccine, said: “It was a real privilege to be able to deliver the first Oxford vaccine at Churchill Hospital here in Oxford, just a few hundred meters from where it was developed.”

Pinker is a retired maintenance supervisor who was dialyzed in hospital for kidney disease. Others should also get vaccinated because “it’s a breeze,” he said.

“The nurses, doctors and staff today have all been brilliant and I look forward to celebrating my 48th wedding anniversary with my wife, Shirley later this year.”

The NHS is the first health service in the world to use the AstraZeneca vaccine, and it is the only one approved that can be stored at refrigerator temperatures. Initial vaccinations will be given in a small number of hospitals for surveillance purposes in the first few days, as is the custom, before the bulk of supplies are sent to more GP-run services later in the week, NHS England said in a statement.

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