War veteran becomes first person in Derbyshire to receive COVID-19 community vaccination

Robert Stopford-Taylor received the coronavirus vaccine from lead nurse Sue Hewitt.jpg

Picture courtesy of Brian Eyre and Derbyshire Times

Robert Stopford-Taylor arrived for his vaccination at 11.00am, and was met by the medical centre’s senior partner, Dr Miles Davidson. Watched by local media and delighted practice staff, he then received his jab from senior practice nurse Sue Hewitt.

Robert served in the army during the Second World War and was deployed in the Middle East and Italy during the period 1940-1945. During that time he received many inoculations and is a firm believer in their ability to protect us from harmful diseases.

“It’s a bit more elaborate these days than when I was in the army. Back then you would be lined up, and jab, jab, jab!” he said afterwards.

As nurse Hewitt prepared to give Robert the life-saving vaccine, he told onlookers that receiving the COVID-19 vaccination today was “a wonderful early Christmas present” and joked that soon he would be able to go out jogging.

Asked how his family felt about him receiving the jab today, Robert said his family, including three daughters, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, were ‘over the moon,’ adding that they worried more about him than he did.

After receiving the vaccination, Robert said that the jab was ‘painless’. Onlookers were keen to know what his secret was to living a long life and he boiled it down to two things: “porridge in the morning and whisky in the evening.”

COVID-19 vaccinations are initially being provided for those aged 80 and over, as well as healthcare workers and people living in care homes. The vaccine is given as two injections, 21 days apart, with the second dose being a booster. Immunity begins to kick in after the first dose but reaches its full effect seven days after the second dose.

Dr Davidson said afterwards: “I’m delighted that we are able to begin delivering COVID-19 vaccinations at a local level - this is a watershed moment in our efforts to protect patients from this virus.”

Dr Steve Lloyd, Medical Director for NHS Derby and Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group, praised all those involved in delivering the new vaccine programme and said: “It’s a privilege to be here today and witness a little bit of history. Robert and many others have been able to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations today thanks to an incredible amount of hard work and planning from everyone across the health and care system in Derbyshire.

“The vaccine is a powerful testament to true collaboration across our NHS and beyond and it is hard to express adequately the gratitude I feel for all those involved in developing the vaccine and now all those involved in helping to deliver the vaccine. More vaccination sites will open soon but in the meantime we ask that people continue to be patient and wait for the NHS to contact them about a vaccination.”

Robert was the first of many patients to receive the COVID-19 vaccination at Stubley Medical Centre and tomorrow, Church Farm Primary Care Centre in Ripley will become the second GP practice in Derbyshire to offer the COVID-19 vaccination. 

Published: 18/12/2020