Veteran star Lionel Blair, 92, has received the first of two COVID vaccine jabs.
Since the vaccine was rolled out last week, the highest risk groups have been given the jabs and on Wednesday, the entertainer attended the NHS vaccine centre, set up in the grounds of the horse racing course at Epsom, Surrey.
After being filmed beaming while getting the jab, he later said: ‘I couldn’t believe it when they called me. It’s next week and then the next one is in January’ and here I am. I’m just … thinking, thank God I live here.’
Lionel looked delighted in the video as he was tended to by a nurse, who pulled his sleeve up and administered the jab, which he admitted was ‘fine’.
Injected: Veteran star Lionel Blair, 92, has received the first of two COVID vaccine jabs
Lionel, who has been married to his wife Susan since 1967, has three children, including comedian Matt and actress Lucy, and admitted he is most excited to see his kids and three grandchildren once he has completed the vaccinations.
Lionel went on: ‘I’m hoping it’s going to make me live a bit longer! And seeing my grandchildren and children growing up. The whole thing means a great deal to me…
‘My back is the only thing that is weak. My doctor says it’s because of all the dancing in my career.’ I couldn’t wait for them to phone, I thought, ‘How do you get in touch?’
Another star to receive the jab was Prue Leith, 80, who shared an image on Twitter during her vaccination alongside a caption reading: ‘”Who wouldn’t want immunity from Covid-19 with a painless jab??”
Happy days! Lionel looked overjoyed once he had the vaccine
Wow! Lionel is an actor, choreographer, tap dancer and television presenter and is best known in the UK for presenting the quiz programme Name That Tune, which ran from 1976 to 1988 (pictured in 1975)
Lionel is an actor, choreographer, tap dancer and television presenter and is best known in the UK for presenting the quiz programme Name That Tune, which ran from 1976 to 1988. He appeared on Celebrity Big Brother in 2014.
His news come after officials claimed that 140,000 Britons have been vaccinated against coronavirus in the first seven days of the roll out, in an announcement made amid mounting pressure on Number 10 to publish the numbers.
Vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi said 137,897 people have had Pfizer/BioNTech’s jab so far, including 108,000 in England, 18,000 in Scotland, 7,897 in Wales and 4,000 in Northern Ireland.
Roll out: Since the vaccine was rolled out last week, the highest risk groups have been given the jabs and on Wednesday, the entertainer attended the NHS vaccine centre, set up in the grounds of the horse racing course at Epsom, Surrey
Mr Zahawi — who was only able to provide precise figures for Wales — said this was a ‘good start’ and promised more would get the jab when more centres opened.
Department of Health bosses later repeated Mr Zahawi’s claim and failed to provide exact counts for anywhere except Wales. Officials insisted the tally was ‘provisional and subject to change’. Matt Hancock said: ‘This is just the start.’
The UK’s largest ever vaccination programme began on December 8, with the Health Secretary promising ‘millions’ would get the jab before the end of the year in hope of finally ending the pandemic.
Living longer: Lionel went on: ‘I’m hoping it’s going to make me live a bit longer! And seeing my grandchildren and children growing up. The whole thing means a great deal to me’
Celebrity chef Prue Leith, 80, uploaded a picture of a male nurse giving her the Pfizer/BioNTech injection on Tuesday
But at the current speed it will take another six weeks for one million people to get vaccinated.
The first week of Britain’s vaccine roll-out saw fifty hospitals geared up to administer doses. GP practices and a handful of purpose-built inoculation clinics started to give out jabs yesterday.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has revealed how many people have been vaccinated against Covid-19 in the first seven days of the programme
The programme has already been swamped by IT glitches forcing many doctors to turn to pen and paper, it was claimed today. When some doctors tried to log jabs in the system they received an ‘infrastructure issue’ message, leaving them unable to digitally record vaccinations.
A Government source told Politico that ‘no one has a f***ing clue’ how many Britons have received the jab, amid fury over the lack of statistics.
The Department of Health has now pledged to publish weekly figures on the exact number of Britons who have been vaccinated against coronavirus like they do for flu, starting from next week.
It comes after a report by the National Audit Office warned half of Britons may not get vaccinated by the end of next year, as plans assume only 25million will get the jab.
Lionel pictured in 2012
The vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi revealed the number on Twitter today, but only provided a precise figure for Wales