Josephine Casey becomes the first Hackney resident to receive the Covid vaccine.
Photograph: Hackney Council

Mayor Philip Glanville spoke of his pride in the borough this morning after 83-year-old Josephine Casey became the first local resident to receive the coronavirus vaccine.

Hackney was chosen as one of the first 100 vaccination sites to open in the UK this month, and the roll-out began today with people aged over 80 and frontline health and social care workers at the front of the queue.

Cheers erupted at Elsdale Street Surgery when Casey, from Haggerston, was vaccinated. The practice is expected to inoculate almost 1,000 more people over the next four days.

Casey, who moved to Hackney in 1980 and previously worked as a council housing officer, said: “I feel marvellous about getting the vaccine today. I’ve been encouraging my friend to get it too – she eventually agreed and is coming tomorrow.

“I think it is important for us to get the vaccine – we’ve got another few years left in us yet! It’s great that the NHS is looking after us so well.”

Dr Shaine Mehta, who gave Casey the jab, put himself forward to help with the vaccination effort.

He said: “It feels great to vaccinate our first patients today. It is such a milestone in our battle against Covid-19, and we are also one of the first sites in London to be vaccinating.

“I would encourage people to get vaccinated when they are asked to do so – if people are worried by some of the vaccine myths out there then you can always call up your GP or speak to a medical professional who can help alleviate your concerns.” 

Hackney is one of the first 100 vaccination sites in the UK, with two more centres expected to open locally in the new year. Photograph: Hackney Council

John Parker, also from Haggerston, was the second person to receive the vaccine, from Dr Anna Pilkington.

He added: “I’m actually excited to get the vaccine. I’m 81 and the way I look at it, any chance I can get to keep safe with this vaccine is better than nothing. I’m not scared about getting the vaccine at all – I’ve had my flu injection, so this is fine.” 

People will be contacted by the NHS with information when it is their turn to receive the vaccine. For most people, this will come in the form of a letter, either from their GP or the national NHS. The letter will include all the information needed to book appointments, including the recipient’s NHS number. 

The country-wide vaccination programme is the result of the hard work of thousands of scientists across the world, rigorous testing and clinical trials and, finally, approval of the vaccines by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). 

Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville, who visited the vaccination centre today with the borough’s health boss Cllr Chris Kennedy, said: “I would like to thank all of the NHS staff and local volunteers who have managed to set this centre up in only two weeks. 

“It is great news, after the year we’ve had, to see our first residents getting vaccinated, and I’m proud that Hackney has been chosen as one of the first 100 vaccination sites in the UK. 

“Today was a really hopeful day, and with the vaccine we can start to look forward to a better 2021. But in the meantime, we must all continue to follow the Tier 3 rules and keep Hackney safe.”

Please do not contact the NHS to get an appointment until you get this letter. Information on the vaccine is available at nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination  

In the new year, two further vaccination centres will be set up in the borough. Keep up to date with the vaccine roll-out by signing up to the council’s newsletter at hackney.gov.uk/newsletters

Support us

The coronavirus outbreak meant that the Hackney Citizen was unable to print a monthly newspaper for three months.

We're grateful that we have since been able to resume printing. This would not have been possible without the generosity of our readers, whose donations kept the paper from disappearing completely at a distressing time for residents.

A huge thank you to everyone who gave their time and money to support us through the lockdown, and to those who continue to do so as we slowly recover from the dramatic fall in advertising revenues, on top of the existing challenges threatening the future of local journalism.

A one-off donation or a regular contribution from anyone who can afford it will help our small team keep the newspaper in print and the website running in the coming months and years.

Find out how you can donate.

Thank you for your support, and stay safe.

The Hackney Citizen team