Covid vaccine: Chelsea Pensioners receive jab 'gift'

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image captionBob Sullivan was given the vaccination by Pippa Nightingale

London's Chelsea Pensioners have said being given the coronavirus vaccine was "the best early Christmas gift we could hope for".

Some 300 veterans living at the Royal Hospital Chelsea were offered the Pfizer jab earlier.

Bob Sullivan, a 98-year-old D-Day veteran, said being vaccinated had put "a real spring in our step as we head into our locked down Christmas".

The nurse who carried out the injections called it an "honour".

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image captionMr Sullivan said getting the vaccine was "the best early Christmas present"

The average age of those living at the hospital is 82 which means many are in the highest priority group to receive the vaccine.

The vaccinations were carried out by Pippa Nightingale, chief nurse at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

She described giving the vaccine to the Chelsea Pensioners as "a real honour".

Ms Nightingale said: "They've fought to protect us and now we can return the favour and help protect them from coronavirus".

Mr Sullivan said the pandemic had "changed life as we know it", but "getting vaccinated against coronavirus today is the best early Christmas gift we could hope for".

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image captionThe Chelsea Pensioners will be celebrating a "socially distanced Christmas", the hospital's governor said

General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, governor of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, said the vaccinations marked "a new chapter in the hospital's battle with coronavirus".

He added that those at the hospital "send their warmest wishes to the nation as they too, batten down the hatches to celebrate a socially distanced Christmas".

Practising GP and NHS director of primary care Dr Nikki Kanani said it was "down to the efforts of hardworking NHS staff that hundreds of local vaccination services... are now vaccinating their patients, including our veterans at Chelsea Pensioners, with many more due to be vaccinated over the festive period".

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