A nurse who did not get her Covid-19 jab for two months while working in one of the world’s first vaccination clinics has encouraged others to get vaccinated.
Toyin Oladotun – known by her colleagues as Lady T – has urged those who are still unsure whether to get the jab to talk through their concerns with health professionals.
Around 6.4 million people in the UK – around 11 per cent of the population – are yet to have their first vaccine.
Ms Oladotun and her nursing team at St George’s hospital in Tooting, London helped to launch the clinic in December 2020 and have now vaccinated over 100,000 people.
But it was two months before she got her own jab.
She said: “We were so excited to start administering the vaccine to protect as many people as possible against the virus, but it was difficult for me as I had friends and family warning me, as a Black woman, not to get it as they were concerned about what might happen.”
The nurse said she now feels proud to have had two doses of the vaccine and a booster jab and there is “no judgement” of people coming forward to get their first vaccine.
Ms Oladotun said: “I understand those who are a little more hesitant, as that was me too, particularly for those that their hesitancy comes from a deep-rooted place or a fear of needles, but I’m always so happy to chat to anyone about how they’re feeling about it.
“Getting the vaccine is quick, easy and not at all scary - I’d urge everyone to get it and to speak to a medical professional if they want to discuss anything they’re concerned about.
“We’re all here to help and there is no judgment. It’s never too late to be vaccinated to give you the best protection this winter."
Rob Bleasdale, chief nursing officer at St George’s, said: “I am incredibly proud and would like to thank Lady T and our whole vaccine clinic team for providing protection and reassurance to our staff and local communities in south-west London over the last year - but it’s not over yet and I’d continue to urge the public to come forward for their vaccines.”
This comes after another medical professional said the majority of unvaccinated people “are not anti-vaxxers”, but make up the majority of people in intensive care - with around two in five dying.
On Monday, critical care consultant, Dr Zudin Puthucheary, told Sky News: “The vast majority of unvaccinated people aren’t anti-vaxxers - they had very unclear messaging, they are very uncertain to know who to trust, and this is what has led them to that.”
NHS England’s medical director, Professor Stephen Powis, urged people to get vaccinated to help relieve the health service’s backlog of care.
He told PA news agency: “What’s really important is that you get that jab because the way the public can help us to reduce those numbers in hospital is to make sure that you have your first or second dose and of course, that all important booster, which recent data has shown is highly effective against preventing severe disease.”