AN EMOTIONAL Matt Hancock cried live on TV this morning after “such a tough year”, adding that the Covid vaccine breakthrough made him “proud to be British.”
⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates
Teary-eyed, he said that “it makes you so proud to be British” while warning that we “have to keep sticking by the rules” after so much work has gone into getting the vaccine out to the public.
The on-air waterworks came just a week after the Health Secretary revealed his step-grandad caught Covid and sadly died of the virus.
The Health Secretary then wiped a tear from his eye as he stuttered and stumbled on his words.
He said: “You know, it’s been such a tough year for so many people.
“We can get on with our lives. And there’s still a few months to go.
“I’ve still got this worry that we can’t blow it now, Piers.”
A tearful Mr Hancock continued: “We’ve still got to get the vaccine to millions of people.
“And so we’ve got to keep sticking by the rules. But there’s so much work gone into this and it makes you proud to be British.”
TEARY MR HANCOCK
Earlier this morning, Mr Hancock told Brits that the Covid vaccine is a “triumph for science and ingenuity” over the “beastly disease” that has brought the world to its knees for nearly a year.
An emotional Heath Secretary told Sky News: “This is a triumph for science and ingenuity over what is an absolutely beastly disease.
“I always believed by backing the science we would get there. This will start to heal this disease right across the world.”
A 90-year-old gran was the first Brit to be given the new jab this morning in a historic moment as V-Day marks a huge step in the fight against the virus.
Margaret Keenan – known as Maggie to friends and family – celebrated with a cup of tea after being given the life-saving jab at 6.31am at her local hospital in Coventry, West Mids.
She is among hundreds of OAPs and NHS staff will receive the vaccine on what is being dubbed V-Day.
Maggie, who turns 91 next week, said: “I feel so privileged to be the first person vaccinated against Covid-19, it’s the best early birthday present I could wish for because it means I can finally look forward to spending time with my family and friends in the New Year after being on my own for most of the year.”
Mr Hancock added: “I’m feeling quite emotional seeing those pictures, it’s been such a tough year for so many people but finally we have our way through it, the light at the end of the tunnel.
‘LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL’
“It seems so simple having a jab in your arm but that will protect Margaret and the people around her.
“If we manage to do that for everyone who is vulnerable to this disease we can move on and return to normal.
“I am so grateful to the whole team who made this happen.”
The Health Secretary also said that he hopes to roll out the vaccine in homes before Christmas – but this will only happen if it’s safe to do so.
Like many around the country, Margaret Keenan has been self-isolating for most of this year and is planning on having a very small family “bubble” Christmas to keep safe.
Originally from Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, she has lived in Coventry for more than 60 years.
She will receive a booster jab in 21 days to ensure she has the best chance of being protected against the virus.
NHS nurse May Parsons said it was a “huge honour” to be the first in the country to deliver the vaccine to a patient.
And the second patient to receive the vaccine this morning was the aptly named William Shakespeare of Warwickshire.
In anticipation of the first jabs, Mr Hancock said last night that this is “the beginning of the end of this pandemic” as the hope of a return to normal life by spring increases.
And Professor Stephen Powis said the start of a Covid-19 vaccination programme “feels like the beginning of the end”.
Appearing on BBC Breakfast, he was asked what his message was to people who might have concerns over the vaccine.
Prof Powis said: “Vaccination is one of the safest forms of medicine.”
He added: “We know they work. This one has been tested in many thousands of people in clinical trials.
“And, of course, the independent regulator, the MHRA, has looked at it carefully, as it always does, and has given it the green light.
“I’m absolutely confident that this … all vaccines are safe. And so if you get called, we’ll be calling you to come and get it, then my advice is come and get it.”
The vaccine will today be available in up to 70 hospital hubs across the country – with a projection of 48,750 people getting their first jab by the end of this week.
More centres will be opened in the weeks and months ahead as more supplies arrive.
The UK has ordered 40million doses, with four million expected by the end of the year.
But the majority of people will have to wait until the other side of Christmas to receive the Covid jab.