Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby gets Covid jab

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image captionThe first of two vaccines was administered at the weekend

The Archbishop of Canterbury has received his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, which he described as "an answer to prayer".

The Most Reverend Justin Welby, 65, got the jab because he is a volunteer member of the chaplaincy team at London's St Thomas' Hospital.

He told the BBC: "All around the world there is some really malicious rumour-mongering.

"Coronavirus does exist, the vaccine is safe, and everybody should have it."

He shared a picture of himself getting the vaccine on Twitter, with the caption: "The rapid development of the vaccine is an answer to prayer - and it is central to the recovery from this terrible pandemic."

Speaking about his chaplaincy role on BBC Radio Kent, he said some of his experiences going into intensive care wards had been "harrowing", but the staff were "loving and patient".

image captionArchbishop Welby said it was important for people struggling to reach out for help

The archbishop also reflected on the third lockdown, commenting that: "Everyone is finding it tougher than the first - and I include myself in that.

"I really feel for those who are alone… people who are bereaved and alone, that is so hard, my heart breaks for them."

Archbishop Welby said he had lost a friend to the virus last year, and a fellow bishop also died on Monday.

He said: "If you're feeling overwhelmed by the darkness, see if you can reach out to somebody and ask for help, and you'll find you'll be overwhelmed with love and affection and care and compassion.

"It may not be as good as a hug, but it's a lot better than being by yourself.

"This is going to end. Hope is there, and we will be in a better place very soon."

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