A Glenfield grandfather has become the first patient in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland to receive the groundbreaking new PfizerBioNTech vaccination against Covid-19.

David Brindley, 87, a father of three and proud granddad of nine who has lived in Leicestershire for 26 years, described himself as being honoured to be the first person to get the vaccine locally. He said he hoped it would mean that he could soon hug his grandchildren who he hasn’t been able to see during the pandemic.

The vaccine was given to David at the Leicester General Hospital this morning – the first of almost 1,000 doses that are expected to be administered over the next few days. Immediate priority is being given to patients aged over 80 who are already attending hospital as an outpatient or being discharged home after a hospital stay, along with NHS and care home staff considered to be at the greatest risk from the disease.

A keen camper and yachtsman, David is also the founder and chair of New Dawn Family Support Service – a charity supporting carers, individuals, families and young people with life limiting and serious illnesses. He said: “I’m chuffed to be honest. I wasn’t expecting it but the vaccine is really great news for everyone. Like most older people I’ve spent a lot of time self-isolating and have really missed spending time with my family. I’m just hoping that this means I will soon be able to give each of my grandchildren a really big hug. I’ve missed that.”

The life-saving vaccine, which is typically injected into the patient’s upper arm, was given by Senior Occupational Health Nurse, Cathy Brough who has worked for the local NHS for over 20 years. Cathy said it was a proud moment that she would remember for the rest of her career.

Rebecca Brown, acting chief executive of University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, gave her thanks to staff from across the local NHS. She said: “It has been a remarkable effort by everyone to get our hospital hub up and running and we are so grateful to them. It has been wonderful to be here today and see and feel the hope and optimism as we take these next steps against the virus. Meeting David, the first patient to receive the vaccine locally and seeing the first jab administered was an honour.

“While this is a momentous moment we also know it is only the beginning. Over the coming weeks the local vaccination programme will ramp up significantly, first through this hospital hub and soon from GP-led community vaccine centres. Together they will mean that we will be in a position to deliver thousands of vaccinations every week to people across the area.”

However, despite the inevitable excitement at the launch, Rebecca warned that the battle against the virus is far from over. She added: “Covid-19 remains a real threat and we must all remain vigilant. We still have too many people in our hospitals who have tested positive for the disease.

“It will take a number of months to complete the programme as more vaccine becomes available. In the meantime it is essential we don’t let our guard down and that we all continue to do everything we can to follow any local Covid restrictions. That includes adhering to social distancing guidance, washing hands regularly, and wearing a face covering.”

People will be contacted by the NHS when they become eligible and are being invited for vaccination. Because of the complexity of the programme this will take some time, and people should not be concerned if they are eligible but not invited immediately. They do not need to contact the hospital or their GP practice, and it is important that they do not attend any NHS location speculatively in the hope of being vaccinated.

For further information about Covid vaccinations visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-vaccine/.