The Queen has made an unusual intervention into Britain’s national coronavirus vaccination push, urging anyone who has doubts to “think about other people rather than themselves”.
The monarch and her 99-year-old husband Prince Philip – who is in hospital receiving treatment for a non-COVID infection – had their first COVID doses from a household doctor at Windsor Castle in January.
Their ages put them in the priority group for England’s coronavirus vaccine rollout.
“It was very quick, and I’ve had lots of letters from people who have been very surprised by how easy it was to get the vaccine,” the Queen said in a video call on Tuesday with health officials overseeing the inoculations’ delivery across Britain.
“The jab – it didn’t hurt at all,” she said in remarks released by Buckingham Palace.
The 94-year-old monarch went on to urge anyone who was reluctant to have the jab to think of others.
“It is obviously difficult for people if they’ve never had a vaccine. But they ought to think about other people rather than themselves,” she said.
“Once you’ve had the vaccine you have a feeling that you’re protected.
“Which I think is very important. And as far as I could make it out, it was quite harmless. It was very quick.”
More than 18.6 million Britons have already received their first vaccine injection, and celebrities including Elton John and Michael Caine have joined campaigns encouraging people to take up offers to have the shot.
Other members of the royal family, including Prince Charles and Prince William, have visited vaccination centres in the past fortnight to thank staff and volunteers for their work.
It comes, though, amid concern over the health of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who was admitted to a London hospital last week. He has since spent nine nights there receiving medical attention for an unspecified infection.
The palace has said Philip, who turns 100 in June, is comfortable and responding to treatment, but likely to remain in hospital for several days.
On Tuesday, the Duke and Prince Edward said he was “a lot better”, and the day before William said his grandfather was “OK”.