First man to be vaccinated against Covid at QA Hospital exactly a year ago urges other to get jabbed
WHEN 99-year-old Michael Tibbs arrived at Queen Alexandra Hospital exactly one year ago today, he made history.
That day the great-grandfather became the first person ever to receive a potentially life-saving vaccine against Covid-19 from QA Hospital – on the same day Margaret Keenan, the first person in the world to get vaccinated, had hers in Coventry.
And at the time Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust (PHU) was just one of 50 trusts in the country that could administer a vaccine.
Now aged 100, Michael has already had both doses plus a booster jab and is keen others follow suit.
Michael, who lives in Haslemere, said: ‘I think people who aren’t getting vaccinated are being really selfish.
‘We’ve seen most of the people with Covid in hospitals now are the ones who haven’t been vaccinated. They’re blocking beds in hospitals needed for other patients.’
When Michael was taken into QA by son Philip for his appointment the country had only just left its second lockdown and was then facing restrictions through a three-tier – soon to be four-tier – system.
Michael said: ‘I was looking forward to seeing my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I’m lucky I’ve been able to see them since I was vaccinated.’
He also celebrated his 100th birthday in November.
‘I find it difficult to believe I’m 100,’ he said.
‘But the Queen has told me so in a letter so it must be true.’
He added: ‘I was so honoured to be one of the first people to get vaccinated and the staff at QA were so nice.
‘If you haven’t already been vaccinated you need to go out and get it done.’
Since Michael’s vaccine last year, the hub at QA Hospital has given out a total of 70,037 first and second doses, as well as 5,520 booster jabs, which were primarily for staff.
Chief nurse at PHU and nurse of 39 years, Liz Rix, administered Michael’s vaccine.
‘He was amazing,’ she said.
‘He was definitely keen to get vaccinated.
‘Just knowing we had a vaccine was a significant step up for the country and on the day it was really exciting and there was a real sense of camaraderie.
‘It was also a bit nerve-wracking to know I was giving the first vaccine in the area because I knew it couldn’t be wasted.
‘Afterward it felt quite momentous.’
It comes as the most recent government data shows 158,430 eligible people in Portsmouth – or 78.21 per cent – have had at least one dose and 70.8 per cent have had both.
Ms Rix added: ‘I can’t stress enough how getting the vaccine and getting your booster is the best way to protect yourself and those around you.’
Although the vaccine hub at QA Hospital is no longer running, Ms Rix said they were ‘ready’ to ‘step up’ if needed to help in administering more booster jabs.
The News launched the Grab a Jab campaign last summer in a bid to help increase the rate of vaccinations in Portsmouth, which then and now lags behind the rate in neighbouring areas.