On Saturday morning [January 9], Mrs Hill arrived at St Thomas’ Hospital at 8.30am, wrapped in ski gear, and got in the line for a Covid vaccine.
“I know I want it, but I’m still nervous,” she said.
She’s booked in for her second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on April 4.
Mrs Hill, a retired consultant, shared the phone number on a local Facebook group and said her friends had signed up for a vaccine after she told them the news.
She had to remove the post from Facebook following criticism from some people that advertising the number could lead to it becoming overwhelmed.
“Dialling a busy number wastes nobody’s time but my own,” she said.
She added that her GP surgery wouldn’t have been able to take a last-minute call for the vaccine so she was pleased that the hospital did.
“My doctor can’t even take a phone call if you want a blood test,” she said. “St Thomas’ has a huge marquee tent outside that’s a Covid vaccination centre.”
With a lighter spring to her step, Mrs Hill planned to walk the four-mile journey home from St Thomas’ after the vaccine.
‘I got my vaccine because of a cancelled appointment when I took my mother for hers’
When taking his elderly and critically vulnerable mother to her Covid vaccine appointment in the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, William Spowage asked the nurse and doctor who was helping them whether he could have one too.
The 60-year-old argued that he should be given a vaccine dose due to his chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and the fact that he often cares for his vulnerable mother.
Despite being told he had a “strong case” by a doctor, the nurse attending his mother gave him a “firm no”, he said.
So he simply shrugged his shoulders and felt pleased his mother was finally getting the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
While his mother was receiving her first shot, the nurse rushed into the room, telling patients that somebody had cancelled before asking Mr Stowage whether he “would you like to be done today?”
The retired Derbyshire county councilman said he was vaccinated “then and there” on Sunday December 27 and believes that “common sense prevailed” even though he was not considered as a top vaccination priority by the Government.
After the impromptu afternoon Covid vaccination Mr Stowage reported feeling “fantastic” and “so pleased.”
“I would have accepted not being done,” he said, adding, “I didn’t want to take anybody else’s appointment.
“But on the way home I was virtually singing I was so chuffed to have got it.”
Mr Stowage said that even though he feels “invulnerable” now, he still wears his mask in the shops.
He added that he and his mother are very pleased to “sneak in early” in the vaccination cycle and feel “guilt-free” because they are both “generally vulnerable.”
Despite their happiness at having received the first dose, they were informed on Thursday that both of their second dosage appointments were cancelled.
Mr Stowage said he was notified of the cancellation via a text message, which read that he would be contacted about the rescheduled jab in “due course”.
Nevertheless, he feels the first dose provided himself and his mother with enough protection from the virus for now.
‘I’m injecting up to 126 people a day but there’s still vaccine left over’
Doctors at a Covid vaccine clinic in Hackney were faced with a problem on Thursday night. They had a spare dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that had to be used that evening, but no one to give it to.
“We were scratching around to find a member of staff who would want it,” said Dr Michael Fitzpatrick, a GP (below) who has been administering the vaccine in north London. “In the end we weren’t able to and we had to bin it.”