With some having already known people who have been left seriously ill or died after contracting Covid 19, borough residents today told the Doncaster Free Press they would happily accept the vaccine if it was offered, expressing confidence in its safety.
Melanie Alcock, aged 49, from Conisbrough, who works in a bakery shop, said she had known people who had been admitted to hospital through the virus, and had a relative who had died after having been diagnosed with Covid 19.
He was believed to have picked up the virus in hospital, but had been seriously ill before picking Covid 19 up.
She said: “I would have the vaccination. I have four work friends who have had the virus. I think it is a no brainer to have the jab when it is available. I don’t like needles, but I’m quite willing to have it.
“I was due to go to Blackpool in October, and Benidorm in November, but that had to be cancelled because of the pandemic. I’m happy that the vaccine is safe and I trust the scientists.
"It shouldn’t be forced on anyone though. but people shouldn’t try to talk others out of having the vaccine.”
Her mum agrees. Jean Bond, aged 71, also from Conisbrough, had planned to go on a cruise this year, but that was scuppered by the pandemic.
She said: “I think if I don’t have the vaccine, I will feel vulnerable, so why not have it? I’ve had the flu jab in the past, so why not? To me it’s a lifeline.
"I have no underlying health conditions, but we’ve worn masks when we go out, we’ve had to stay home, and it’s got monotonous. I’m happy that it’s safe.”
Margaret Turner, also from Conisbrough is in no doubt – she wants the vaccine as soon as it becomes available to her age group.
Aged 74, she is too young for the first doses.
She said: “It can’t come soon enough. Too many people have died that could have been saved if they had been vaccinated.
"I’ve been watching the news, and the scientists who have developed these vaccines are geniuses, and if they can produce a vaccine I’m all for it. I’ve had a flu jab and I don't know if that offers any immunity. I don’t know anyone personally who has been affected, but I’m still keen and I don’t understand these anti-vaxers that you hear about. There’s a lot of people in this country and I don’t want more dying.”
Julia Knowles is aged 79, so is just under the threshold for the first wave of vaccines, for over 80s. But Julia, from Conisbrough, agreed that she wants the vaccine as soon as it is available. She went into Doncaster town centre this week for only the second time since lockdown.
"Someone at my church died after contracting the coronavirus,” she said. “I’ve been waiting for someone to say the vaccine is going ahead,” she said. "This could make life much better for everyone – I will have it as soon as I can."
Valerie Kirsopp, aged 75, of Rossington, said she thought it was amazing that there was a vaccine now developed, but is aware there are people who will refuse the jab.
"I phoned my sister up straight away,” she said. “We both said we’ll go for it, and I would rather they trialled it on my generation than on our grandchildren. I have a relative who’s 31 who says he won’t have it though. I don’t understand people saying they won’t have it.”
Sharon Taylor, of Edlington, admitted she had some concerns – but said she would still go ahead and have a vaccination. But she would prefer to have the British-developed Oxford-AstraZeneca jab if it is approved by the Government health experts.
Sharon, aged 56, said: “I do think it’s been approved too quickly – I think they sped it through.
"I will have it, but I don’t want the Pfizer--BioNTech one. I’d sooner have the Oxford one when it is approved. I’m not sure about the funding for the Pfizer one. I think I’ve got more confidence in the Oxford one because it’s produced in the UK. I suppose it has got to be safe, but I’ve got mixed feelings."
She said she knew people who had had the virus to different degrees.
The first wave of vaccinations is due to start tomorrow, Tuesday December 8.
The first doses are due to be given to NHS workers, care home residents and people aged over-80s from this week, but officials have stated that most of those over 80s will not receive a vaccination until early next year.
NHS England has warned GP surgeries they must be ready to administer 975 doses to priority patients within three-and-a-half days after they receive the vaccine.
Doncaster’s GPs have already been in talks about setting up joint vaccination hubs which would be staffed jointly by practices.
In total, the UK has ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which is enough to vaccinate 20 million people. The NHS announced this morning that Britain would receive up to four million doses of the Pfizer vaccine before the end of this year.
Richard Parker, chief executive of Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals said the trust’s sites had been preparing in order to get ready for the vaccines and are now in a position to begin programmes as of the start of December.