The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have been given the Covid-19 vaccination at Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace revealed today.
The Monarch, 94, and Prince Philip, 99, have joined more than 1.5million people across Britain who have been given the jab since the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was approved for use in December.
The UK has since permitted the use of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca jab, alongside an inoculation against coronavirus developed by Moderna.
News of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh’s vaccination is unusual from Buckingham Palace, which rarely comments on the private health matters of the royal couple.
It is understood the Queen decided the information should be made public to prevent inaccuracies and further speculation.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: ‘The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have today received Covid-19 vaccinations.’
However, when asked by MailOnline, the palace refused to indicate which out of the two available vaccines the couple had been given.
In other coronavirus developments today:
- Rishi Sunak could delay tax rises until next autumn but will end Stamp Duty holiday in March;
- Police vow to issue fines ‘much quicker’ as scientists blame public for not following the rules as closely as they did in first lockdown;
- Fears of a new wave of deaths after outbreaks in homes more than doubled over New Year period;
- Some schools are still more than HALF full as attendance soars much higher than the first lockdown;
- Doctors in packed London hospitals ‘have to choose who gets intensive care and prioritise young people with highest survival chances’;
- Police who fined two women £200 for socially-distanced country walk are slammed by ex-chief constable;
- Dozens of anti-lockdown protesters march on Clapham Common chanting ‘take your freedom back’.
A royal source confirmed the injections were administered by a Household Doctor at Windsor Castle.
The Queen and Philip have been spending lockdown sheltering at their Berkshire home after deciding to have a quiet Christmas and forgo the traditional royal family gathering at Sandringham.
Confirmation of the royal couple’s inoculations comes a month after British grandmother Margaret Keenan, 91, became the first person in the world to receive a Covid-19 vaccination on December 8.
It has since been offered to people over 80 or those who are at high risk from the virus, with people who live or work in care homes also top of the list to receive the jab.
Boris Johnson announced this week he will bring in the Army to bolster the vaccination drive, as he claimed the NHS will be able to give 200,000 jabs every day by next Friday as part of ambitious lockdown-ending plans.
The UK is aiming to vaccinate 13million people by mid-February, which could require up to three million per week.
Only 1.5million have received at least one dose so far — meaning there are another 11.5million to dish out in 39 days, or around 300,000 a day.
It comes as coronavirus cases continue to soar in the UK, with more than 68,000 infections recorded in a single day on Friday. A further 1,325 deaths were confirmed yesterday, up from 613 a week ago.
The death toll – which has doubled in a week – takes the UK to the brink of almost 80,000 victims. Coronavirus infections hit a record high of 68,053.
Experts fear the daily death counts will continue to spiral because of rocketing cases and hospitalisations.
Royal sources insisted last month that the Queen and Prince Philip would not get preferential treatment for the jab, but would instead ‘wait in line’ during the first wave of injections reserved for the over-80s and care home residents.
The participation of the Queen in backing the jabs could be seen as a rallying cry to the nation.
In 1957, she let it be known that Charles and Princess Anne had been given polio jabs to counter fears about the vaccine.
On Christmas Day, she delivered a message of comfort to everyone who ‘just wanted a hug’ over the festive season, telling them: ‘You are not alone, and let me assure you of my thoughts and prayers’.
The Queen spoke of the coming of ‘light and hope’ embodied in the birth of Christ as she gave her annual Christmas message at a time when many of her subjects remain apart from their families due to the pandemic.
And in a tribute to the NHS, the speech showed footage of workers taking part in the Clap for our Carers, which happened each Thursday during the first lockdown, while the chart-topping NHS choir performed at the end.
News of the monarch’s vaccination follows claims that doctors in overwhelmed hospitals have to begun ‘triaging’ coronavirus patients to choose who gets critical care.
Medics in London said a critical shortage of beds meant some hospitals were implementing emergency guidelines to prioritise treatment for patients with the best survival chances.
This means younger patients who are more-likely to survive will be offered critical care over the elderly, who are less likely to survive.
And intensive care medics on Britain’s Covid frontline are ‘extremely worried’ that case totals will keep increasing until the NHS ‘simply won’t be able to cope with it’ as Britons keep flouting lockdown.
Data shows just 30 per cent of people exhibiting Covid symptoms are actually staying at home, claiming work, caring responsibilities or the need to buy supplies force them out the house.
Intensive care consultant Professor Rupert Pearse – who works at the Royal London Hospital in the hard-hit capital – said Britons are not following the rules like they were ‘in the first wave’ putting enormous pressure on the already-overwhelmed health service.
Dr Katharina Hauck, from the faculty of medicine at Imperial College London, said: ‘Hospitals in London are overwhelmed, which is a dangerous situation for all patients requiring urgent care … Sadly, some hospitals are now forced to follow … emergency triage of all patients requiring critical care.
‘Applying this guidance effectively means that patients under the age of 65 who are not frail will be prioritised over elderly and frailer patients for critical care. Frail patients would be cared for in general wards with less intensive care.’
And deputy chair of the British Medical Association’s consultants committee said the latest wave of Covid infections is only ‘going to get worse’.
He said critical health services are spread ‘more and more thinly’ as many as three patients per intensive care nurse, rather than the usual standard of one-to-one care.
Elsewhere, it was revealed today that coronavirus outbreaks in care homes more than doubled in a fortnight over the New Year period, after it emerged that only ten per cent of residents had been vaccinated.
According to data from Public Health England, there were 503 reports of Covid-19 outbreaks in care homes in England in the week up to January 3, up from 304 the week before.
The week before that, there were 236, meaning infections increased more than 113 per cent in two weeks.
A care home outbreak is classed as two or more confirmed cases, meaning the number of residents being infected with the virus will be even higher.
When the first coronavirus wave as at its peak in March and April last year, the Government was heavily criticised over the way care homes were residents were left exposed to the disease – with more than 20,000 dying.
The Government’s vaccination priority list, a version of which was first published in September, puts care home residents and staff among those first in line for a jab.
But Mr Johnson admitted earlier this week that the vaccination plan needs to speed up as figures showed only one in 10 care home residents, and 14 per cent of staff had been vaccinated so far.
Nadra Ahmed, the chair of the National Care Association, said the delays were ‘not good enough’ and said the Government was ‘failing’ vulnerable care home residents.
Number 10 blamed complications in getting the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine – which needs to be stored at -70C – for the poor progress in vaccinating care home residents.
However, it is thought the rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab – which began last week – will accelerate the vaccination programme because it is easier to store and transport.
The Department of Health said it is aiming for all care home residents to have been offered vaccines by the end of January.
Ms Ahmed told the Telegraph that the delays were unacceptable.
She said: ‘It’s not good enough. For once we would have loved to see the statistics being ahead of the curve, rather than behind it,’ she said.
‘If we don’t do this, we are failing the vulnerable citizens in this country who are in care settings, and this will be the failure of the government to safeguard the people who are the most vulnerable.’