War veteran’s second Covid vaccine jab due next week

A NONAGENARIAN has been congratulated by his MP after taking up the opportunity for a Covid-19 vaccine.

Bernard Knatt, of Iveston, County Durham, received his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in December and is looking forward to getting his second injection on Tuesday.

North West Durham MP Richard Holden and his team worked with Mr Knatt earlier in the year to successfully help him track down information about his wartime records from the Ministry of Defence in London.

He grew up in Rugby, in Warwickshire, and can vividly recall the Coventry Blitz, early in the Second World War.

Later in the conflict he joined the Fleet Air Arm, visiting Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Singapore and Hong Kong, and was on deployment in the Far East when VJ (Victory over Japan) Day signalled the end of the war.

He was among the first tranche of people in the North-East to have received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine amid the drive to inoculate tens of millions of others in the population, in coming months.

The Pfizer-BioNTech version of the jab has now been followed by the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine in winning approval of medicines’ regulator the MRHA.

As residents are being offered the vaccination in order of age and vulnerability, 93-year-old Mr Knatt was among the first to receive his primary dose.

He said: “I am extremely glad to have had the vaccine.

“My arm felt a little stiff just afterwards, but I had no problems and am very keen to get the second jab in order to guarantee my immunity against this dreadful virus.”

He also thanked his MP for help in tracking down his treasured war records.

“It is 75 years now since the war, but it is still a clear memory,” he added.

More than 40,000 people in the North-East have now had their first dose of the vaccine, among 800,000-plus across the UK.

The new Oxford/Astra-Zeneca vaccine is now being rolled out nationwide with the first of more than half a million doses being made available by Monday.

Residents are urged not to contact their GPs at the moment about the vaccine, as their medical practices will contact them over coming weeks.

Mr Holden said: “This has been an incredibly difficult year for everyone in County Durham, because of the public health situation.

“However, the exciting news we heard in November about the vaccines that have been developed is now starting to have a practical impact as people like Bernard receive it.

“I am really delighted that Bernard has had his first vaccine and will soon be able to get the full protection he needs.

“I would encourage everyone to get the vaccine when they are able to, in order that they protect their health as well as those of their family and friends.”

Mr Holden said he is looking forward to visiting Mr Knatt at Iveston later in the New Year, as and when Covid restrictions permit.

The Northern Echo | Durham