One of the first people in line to get the coronavirus vaccine today says he is ‘looking forward’ to doing his bit.
Doses of the new Pfizer jab are being administered at 50 hospital hubs across the country from today, in what Health Secretary Matt Hancock dubbed ‘V-Day’.
Among the first to be vaccinated is Hari Shukla, 87, a retired teacher whose name is on a ‘local hero’ plaque for his race relations work in his hometown of Newcastle.
The campaigner has been awarded an MBE, OBE and CBE for his work to bring communities together.
He has an appointment at Newcastle’s Royal Infirmary today at 8am and his wife Ranjan, 83, will also be receiving the vaccine.
Dr Shukla said: ‘I’m so pleased we are hopefully coming towards the end of this pandemic and I am delighted to be doing my bit by having the vaccine.
‘I feel it is my duty to do so and do whatever I can to help.
‘Having been in contact with the NHS staff, I know how hard they all work and I am grateful for everything they have done to keep us safe during the pandemic.
‘As far as I’m concerned, I’m excited about it. We were waiting for this vaccine for a very long time.”
After marrying Ranjan, Ugandan-born Dr Shukla moved to Newcastle in 1974 to provide a better education for his children.
He became the director of the Tyne and Wear Racial Equality Council and spent much of his life promoting race relations.
Dr Shukla hopes other people will follow his example to help get the country back to normality.
The grandfather-of-nine told ChronicleLive: ‘We hope that everybody will participate in it and get back to next to normal.
‘I have been following the news and our scientists have done a wonderful job.
‘I have no doubt in my mind they are the best in the world.’
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