Nurse with long Covid symptoms and 73-year-old surgeon among first Wakefield NHS staff to receive Pfizer vaccine

A 73-year-old surgeon who has worked in Wakefield for more than three decades was among the first hospital staff to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.

By Holly Gittins
Wednesday, 6th January 2021, 11:35 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th January 2021, 12:28 pm

Camille El-Khatib was one of the first members of the district’s NHS staff to receive the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday afternoon.

Speaking after his jab, Mr El-Khatib, who has performed more than 20,000 surgeries in his career and says he intends to continue his work for as long as he is able to, said: “I have been very impressed with the organisation of the vaccine, it has been exceptional.

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“I’d like to give my special regards to Mr Martin Barkley, Chief Executive.

“I hope to continue to share my surgical skills and experience from over the years with younger colleagues and I’m glad that having the vaccine will allow me to do so safely.”

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury hospitals, has now begun work to offer the vaccination to hundreds of frontline health workers across the district.

Among other staff to receive the early doses of the jab was Sister Coleen King, who fell ill with Covid-19 last May.

Camille El-Khatib, 73, who has worked for Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust since 1985, was one of the first members of NHS staff to receive the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday afternoon. Photo: Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust

She has continued to suffer from long-term health problems including Pneumonia, chest infections and kidney problems, in the months since her diagnosis, and has been unable to work for the last six weeks as she tackles long Covid symptoms.

But she praised her husband, who she said had made the "best infection control nurse" and supported her through her illness.

Coleen said: “I feel very lucky to have been given the vaccine. Unfortunately I did get Covid in March, it’s been a long hard haul, and I still have some lasting problems so to get the vaccine is definitely going to make me feel a lot safer!”

Gavin Bateman, who also received his first dose of the vaccine at Pinderfields Hospital this week, praised his colleagues for their "smooth" handling of the vaccine rollout.

Gavin Bateman and Coleen King also received their first dose of the vaccine on Tuesday. Photos: Gavin Bateman/Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust

Last month, an 88-year-old great-grandfather from South Kirkby became the first person in the Wakefield district to receive the first dose of the vaccine.

Two vaccines have now been approved for use in the UK, each promising a high rate of protection against Covid-19.

The Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines each require two doses, to be administered at least three weeks apart, to be fully effective.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the government hoped to offer the first dose of the vaccine to all over-70s, the most clinically vulnerable and front-line health and care workers by mid-February.

More than 1.3 million people have received the first dose of the vaccine so far, and are expected to receive the second dose in the coming weeks.