London, February 28
Britain’s Prince William has become the latest member of the royal family to encourage people to take up vaccines to protect themselves against COVID-19, saying it was a “really, really important” way to combat the pandemic.
William, the 38-year-old Duke of Cambridge, addressed the issue during a video call with London-based Indian-origin Modha family who spoke about getting over any anxiety around the jabs.
The second in line to the British throne echoed his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II’s views on the importance of being vaccinated and also warned against believing misinformation around the jabs circulating on social media.
“Catherine and I are not medical experts by any means but if it’s any consolation, we can wholeheartedly support having vaccinations. It’s really, really important,” said William, who was joined on the video call by wife Catherine/Kate Middleton.
“We’ve spoken to a lot of people about it and the uptake has been amazing so far. We’ve got to keep it going so the younger generations also feel that it’s really important for them to have it,” he said.
Shivali Modha has been shielding since the start of the pandemic due to a pre-existing medical condition and was joined on the video call by husband Hiren and their daughters Shyaama, 11, and Jyoti, 9.
“The idea of this vaccination is new but the more people that get it then you realise that actually it’s helping and the numbers are showing that, figures are coming down – all positive things,” said Modha.
The royals listened as Modha – who has type 2 diabetes – said how posts on social media had concerned her, but that speaking to members of her family who had received their vaccine, and also medical professionals and the charity Diabetes UK had encouraged her to get a vaccine.
“So, it’s great that Shivali you’re taking the time to work it out and come to the conclusion that ‘I need to do this’ because social media is awash sometimes with lots of rumours and misinformation, so we have to be a little bit careful who we believe and where we get our information from,” said William.
“Especially for those who are clinically vulnerable as well, it’s so important that those vaccinations are done, so good luck,” he added.
The latest royal intervention comes days after the Queen, in a video call with health officials, had spoken about how she had found her own experience of getting her first vaccine dose last month painless, and encouraged people to think about others and get their vaccine when called by the National Health Service (NHS).
The 94-year-old monarch backed the NHS-led vaccination programme in the video call with health officials coordinating the rollout across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. She and husband, 99-year-old Prince Philip, received their first of two doses last month.
Vaccinations are now being administered at more than 1,600 sites across England, including mosques, museums and rugby grounds, with the distribution of centres meaning 98 per cent of the country lives within 10 miles of at least one vaccination service.
More than 18 million people have now had a first vaccine dose, equivalent to one in three adults in the UK, with July 31 as the government target to cover all adults.
The vaccine rollout – currently involving the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca jabs – has entered its next phase, after everyone in the top four priority groups was offered a jab. — PTI