Watch: Prince Charles and Camilla visit COVID vaccination centre
Prince Charles has confirmed he will get the coronavirus vaccination when he gets the call, but said he will be “way down the list”.
Charles, 72, and his wife Camilla, 73, visited a COVID-19 vaccination hub at the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital in Gloucester on Thursday afternoon, and met frontline workers giving out the jab.
The Prince of Wales said he would get the injection when it is his turn. As he is in his 70s, he would be classed in the second group to get the jab, once those over 80 and in care homes have received it.
He said: “I think I am way down the list and will have to wait.”
He added: “I think I’ll have to wait for the AstraZeneca one before it gets to my turn. I’m some way down the list.”
It’s not been confirmed if his mother, the Queen, who is 94, has had the vaccine. It’s previously been indicated that it would be a private medical matter.
Prince Charles had coronavirus himself in March, and remarked during the visit that he would have antibodies. However, some research suggests antibodies don’t last very long in some people.
The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall were given a tour of the hospital by Deborah Lee, chief executive of the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust, and chief nurse Professor Steve Hams, who is managing the vaccination programme.
The royal couple wore face coverings and protective glasses throughout the visit.
They also unveiled a plaque to mark the visit.
Coral Boston, a senior infection control nurse and the hospital trust’s equality, diversity and inclusion lead, said: “I spoke to both of them, Charles especially.
“He talked about the disproportionate numbers of BAME people that Covid affected and how important it was for people of colour to have the vaccination.
“It was great that he acknowledged that.
“It meant such a lot. It’s just a feeling that they appreciate what you do, and the support as well – to have somebody of that level, I was in awe.”
Boston, who received the jab on Thursday, added: “I don’t want to see any more deaths, I don’t want to see any more of my colleagues end up in ITU.
“So it was really important that he acknowledged and knew about the fact that people of colour were dying and people of colour were more affected by the virus.
“It was important for me to have the vaccine. I encourage other people that look like me to have the vaccination.
“If you want to protect your family and support the staff of the NHS, they are dealing with a huge amount of work. It’s hard for them on a day-to-day basis to break the news to a family.
“It’s important that everybody who can have the vaccine has the vaccine.”
Since the rollout began, the trust has vaccinated 1,300 staff from NHS organisations including care homes, in the county. Those with underlying health conditions and from BAME communities were among the first to be vaccinated.
Lee said the trust “walked on the shoulders” of Gloucestershire-born physician Dr Edward Jenner, who discovered vaccines.
She told Charles and Camilla: “We feel very privileged to be one of the first centres to mobilise this programme. We’ve all seen the heartache and the sadness that has affected so many of our colleagues and also the community.
“To be at the forefront of the programme that brings hope and to have you with us to enjoy this moment means the absolute world to us.”
Prof Hams said the team was “grateful” to Charles and Camilla for the visit.
He added: “I was just amazed at how warm and friendly they both were. They were talking about the vaccine, how we store it, how we put it together, the number of people that have been vaccinated, and any side-effects.
“They also spoke about priority groups, and they were really clear in saying that they were not old enough yet, which is good for them. They are not first in the queue just yet.
“I have called this the vaccine of hope because we’ve had a really difficult 12 months and I have personally seen the sadness and the upset and the destruction this awful virus has played on our communities and our colleagues.”
The duke and duchess spent much of the first lockdown in Birkhall, their home in Scotland, but moved back to England when restrictions began to ease.
They have been living at Highgrove House, the duke’s Gloucestershire home, since then, though they have travelled into London for some engagements.
Watch: Royals release candid Christmas card family pictures