A 91-year-old man who is friends with Desmond Tutu and became one of the first people to receive a Covid-19 vaccine interrupted ITV presenter Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain today to ask him: ‘Who are you?’
The hilarious moment came as Martin Kenyon was being asked about getting the Pfizer/BioNTech jab at Guy’s Hospital in London on V-Day yesterday on the first day of the UK’s biggest-ever mass immunisation programme.
Mr Kenyon also exclusively revealed to MailOnline today that he had been friends with Tutu for 60 years after he looked after the South African archbishop when he arrived in London in the early 1960s to study.
Through his friendship with the Anglican cleric, he became involved in the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa as well as racial injustice in the US, once spending an evening with Dr Martin Luther King in Chicago in 1966.
Mr Kenyon ran the Overseas Students Trust for 30 years between 1963 and 1993, and was based in South Kensington where he looked after foreign students who came to study in Britain.
Today, Morgan named Mr Kenyon’s grandchildren Leo, seven, and Molly, ten, before adding: ‘I know a lot about you actually, Martin, because I found you such a brilliant interviewee. I also discovered, and this was extraordinary…’
But then Mr Kenyon interrupted him saying: ‘Now, who are you? Who are you?’ Amid mass laughter in the studio with co-host Susanna Reid, Morgan added: ‘OK, well let’s talk about who we are. My name is Piers Morgan.’
Reid said it was ‘brilliant’, adding ‘shots fired’ – and Mr Kenyon added: ‘He’ laughing at his own jokes now.’ The pensioner continued: ‘How do you do, how do you do?’, then Morgan replied: ‘It’s lovely to meet you.’
Also in the interview, Mr Kenyon told how he decided to call the hospital for an appointment after having a ‘very odd’ dream about people coming over for dinner and had not experienced any side effects since having the jab.
He said: ‘I dreamt the night before, never done that before, so it was obviously a portent to what was happening. Lots of people came to dinner, and I can remember who they were and they had wives, that sort of thing.
‘I don’t normally… I don’t dream, very odd, woke up suddenly at half past eight yesterday morning and said ‘I’ll ring up Guy’s Hospital and see if I can come and be vaccinated’.’
Adding that he had trouble parking, he said: ‘It was absolute hell, I normally go on the bus to Guy’s and walk, but I’ve now taken to driving my car everywhere to avoid being poisoned by other people, or poisoning them.’
Mr Kenyon also spoke yesterday with CNN anchor Cyril Vanier, and told him how he had a ‘rather nasty lunch’ before showing a ‘very unexciting’ card provided to him by the hospital.
Discussing how he came about to getting the vaccine, Mr Kenyon said: ‘I rang up Guy’s Hospital which I know very well because I’ve lived in London most of my grown-up life, and I said ‘what’s this thing you’re doing, the vaccination’ and they said ‘yes’ and then they spent various times asking me questions about this and that, not very interesting.
‘I said ‘yes, no, yes, no’ and they said well come at 12.30pm. Well of course I couldn’t find anywhere to damn well park my car so I was late. Anyway I’m here now and I got inside and they duly put me on the list.
‘I went off and had a rather nasty lunch and then came back and they were ready for me. And no it didn’t hurt at all – I didn’t know the needle had gone in until it had come out. It was very interesting. No it was painless.’
On whether it was a ‘quick in and out for the needle, like any vaccination’, he commented: ‘Exactly, well vaccinations aren’t very common are they, one has inoculations.’
Mr Kenyon also said he hopes not to get the ‘bloody bug’ now, adding: ‘I don’t intend to have it because I have granddaughters and I intend to live a long time to enjoy their lives.’ He then showed a card provided to him by the hospital with his name and details for a follow-up appointment, saying: ‘It’s got my name on it and that’s about it. Very unexciting.’
On being able to hug his family once he’s immune to the virus, the pensioner said: ‘Well there’s no point in dying now when I’ve lived this long is there? I don’t plan to anyway.’
Yesterday the NHS embarked on its colossal plan to vaccinate the entire population against coronavirus by rolling out the UK’s new weapon in the war on Covid at 50 hospital sites to the over-80s, the vulnerable and at-risk frontline hospital and care home staff.
Last night thousands of elderly British patients urged vaccine sceptics to have the jab for the good of the country as health bosses prepared for a delivery of more than a million doses of the Pfizer vaccine next week.
The national vaccination drive was launched at 70 UK hospitals, with most doses given to the over-80s. Margaret Keenan, a Coventry grandmother, was first in line, declaring: ‘If I can have it at 90, then you can have it too.’
Lyn Wheeler, 81, who was given the Pfizer jab in front of Boris Johnson at Guy’s in London, called for everyone to do their duty so normal life can resume. ‘It’s all for Britain,’ she added. ‘I’m going for it because I feel there’s no other way forward. We can’t keep sitting in our houses.’
An initial 800,000 doses are being rolled out in the coming days and Health Secretary Matt Hancock has promised millions more before Christmas.
In other coronavirus news:
- Holidays abroad were given the green light for next summer by officials;
- Care homes were told to expect doses of the vaccine by Christmas;
- Mr Hancock appeared to well up on live TV as he described his pride at the rollout;
- The Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine was found to be ‘safe and effective’ in a major study in the Lancet;
- However regulators face a decision over whether to approve the vaccine with a low-dose initial injection;
- US regulators inched closer to approving the Pfizer jab for the most vulnerable;
- Mr Johnson appeared to issue a warning about London following a rise in infection rates, sparking fears it could be plunged into Tier Three next week;
- Chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance warned the public may still be wearing face masks a year from now;
- Schools may be allowed to take an inset day on the last Friday of term so stressed teachers can have a ‘proper break’;
- A further 616 people died of coronavirus, taking the total to 62,033. Another 12,282 cases were confirmed.
Martin Kenyon told presenters Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid on ITV’s Good Morning Britain today about his jab experience
Martin Kenyon, 91, pictured during the interview, in which he spoke about receiving Pfizer’s jab at Guy’s Hospital in Southwark, London, with CNN’s Cyril Vanier
The British pensioner has gone viral for his charming tale, telling how he was late for the 12.30pm appointment because he ‘couldn’t find anywhere to damn well park’
Martin Kenyon, pictured in his London home today after giving interviews about being one of the first people to get the jab
Mr Kenyon with his family – (Left to right) his daughter Nina; his grandson Leo; Ben Clarke; Mr Kenyon himself; his daughter Eliza; his granddaughter Molly and son-in-law Andrew
CNN’s Oliver Darcy tweeted the footage, posting: ‘This interview wins the day’.
Oxford confirms its Covid vaccine is 70% effective and safe – but scientists warn regulators face ‘dilemma’ in approving jab to be given as 1.5 doses (which they accidentally found is 90% protective)
The UK’s regulator now faces a ‘dilemma’ over whether to approve a one-and-a-half dose regimen that researchers accidentally discovered makes the experimental jab 90 per cent effective.
The MHRA has been considering whether to approve the vaccine since November 27 and is expected to reach a decision before the end of the year.
AstraZeneca, the pharmaceutical company producing the vaccine, said the 62 per cent effectiveness seen in people who received two full doses of the jab was good enough to hit regulators’ standards around the world.
And Oxford’s own scientists suggest they expect approval for the original two-dose regimen before the end of this year, which could later be adapted to the more effective combination if data proves it is better.
A small group of volunteers who were mistakenly only given a half-dose first, followed by a full dose, were found to get a far better 90 per cent protection from the Covid-19.
Researchers on the project — who have yet to publish the final phase three data — said the discovery was ‘intriguing’ and ‘unplanned’ but admitted that they had no idea whether the MHRA would want to approve it this way.
Many social media users commented on the stereotypical Britishness of Mr Kenyon, while others labelled him a ‘national treasure’. One person wrote: ‘Martin Kenyon is a national treasure in the UK now. I hope he can do a cameo on the next season of The Crown!’
Another tweeted: ‘I rang up at half past twelve and said what’s all this I’ve heard about a vaccination?’
TV host Jeremy Vine added: ‘This is Peak British right here. Martin Kenyon has just had the vaccination — sorry, inoculation. Could almost be a Monty Python sketch. Lovely man.’
A fourth wrote: ‘What a charming man. At 91 drove himself to the hospital in London, arranged to get the vaccination, had a ‘nasty lunch’, got inoculated, received a card as proof, and has no intention of dying now. Yes, interview wins the day.’
Speaking to MailOnline today, Mr Kenyon said he had been stopped in the street and been bombarded with phone calls from excited relatives in the US over his CNN interview after becoming one of the first people in the world to receive the approved vaccine.
Speaking back at his four-storey home in Stockwell, the well-spoken Cambridge graduate said: ‘People keep on asking how I feel as if I feel any different but the answer is no- I’m still exactly the same person – only now I’m busier fielding calls from friends, neighbours and the press.
‘My cousins have called me from America saying they saw the interview on TV and I’ve been stopped numerous times in the street by well-wishers.
‘I took the jab because I’ve lived a wonderful life and I wouldn’t mind a few more years – especially with such a lovely family.
‘I want to be able to spend Christmas with them not hunkering down in this big house on my own, which is precisely why I went to the hospital yesterday.
‘We have a lovely cottage near the Long Mynd nestled in the Shropshire Hills and we are planning on enjoying the festivities there this year.
‘I’ve not seen much of my daughters and my two grandchildren this year because of Covid.
‘We’ve only been all together once this year when we met about two months ago up in Shropshire for a garden party so we could all keep a safe distance.
‘My daughters have been to visit me in London by themselves a few times but I’m lucky in that I keep an active life and I’ve a good deal of friends who have looked in on me to see I’m OK.’
Born in Shropshire, Mr Kenyon’s father was in the Royal Welch Fusiliers and fought in the First World War at The Somme while his mother trained to be a missionary in Africa and also worked at Eton College, when the family lived for a time in a flat in Horseshoe Cloister inside the walls of Windsor Castle.
His great, great, great grandfather is Lord Lloyd Kenyon, who served as the Attorney General between 1783 and 1784 before becoming Lord Chief Justice in 1788 until 1802.
The moment Margaret Keenan, 90, became the first patient in the United Kingdom to receive the Pfizer/BioNtech covid-19 vaccine at University Hospital, Coventry, administered by nurse May Parsons, at the start of the largest ever immunisation programme in the UK’s history. ’Bill’ William Shakespeare, 81 also received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
In a watershed moment, an emotional Mrs Keenan is clapped from the ward after she was vaccinated on the eve of her 91st birthday
Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to to Lyn Wheeler before she received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Guy’s Hospital in London. Mr Johnson was in intensive care at the same trust as he fought Covid earlier this year
An initial 800,000 doses are being rolled out in the coming days and Health Secretary Matt Hancock has promised millions more before Christmas. In other developments. Pictured: Mr Hancock became emotional and appeared to wipe tears from his eyes while being interviewed on ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Tuesday
Mr Kenyon himself studied at Eton and later at Oxford where he read History before eventually running the Overseas Students Trust for 30 years between 1963 and 1993.
Based in South Kensington he looked after foreign students who came to study in Britain.
One of the first students he looked after was South African cleric Desmond Tutu when he arrived in the early 1960s to study and work in London.
Mr Kenyon said: ‘We’ve remained friends ever since – he’s two years younger than me which I like to remind him about.
‘I have no idea if he’s seen me on TV, I expect he’s had other more important things to look at!’
Mr Kenyon travelled the world with his job, venturing to Africa, the Middle East and all of Europe except ‘beyond the iron curtain – it was a Cold War thing’.
Through his friendship with Tutu, he was involved in the movement to end apartheid in South Africa and racial injustice in America, once meeting Dr Martin Luther King in Chicago in 1966.
He added: ‘I’ve led a rich and interesting life and I’m in no mood to go anywhere yet.
‘So yesterday I rang up Guy’s Hospital and I said ‘what’s this thing you’re doing, the vaccination’ and they said ‘yes’ and then they spent various times asking me questions about this and that, not very interesting.
‘They told me to come at 12.30pm and normally I get the bus there but for some unfathomable reason yesterday I decided to drive there.
‘What a mistake that was because there isn’t any where to park my car, which is why I was so late. I mentioned that during my interview with CNN but thought it a throwaway comment, I didn’t dream it would get me all this attention.
‘I also told the chap from CNN that I’d gone off and had a rather nasty lunch, which isn’t true and I don’t know quite why I said that.
‘But my daughters are used to their dad putting his bloody foot in it!’
At least 5,000 people were inoculated – around 100 people in each centre – with 800,000 doses of the Pfizer /BioNtech vaccine already in the country as the UK’s vaccine chief Kate Bingham predicted that in 2021 ‘we will all be going on summer holidays’.
The next to get the jab was William Shakespeare, 81, from near Stratford-upon-Avon – the Bard’s home town – who appeared so relaxed many joked that to him, being the second person in the world to be vaccinated was ‘much ado about nothing’.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was emotional as he watched Mrs Keenan getting the jab after a grim 2020, and cried on Good Morning Britain as Mr Shakespeare hailed the ‘ground-breaking’ jab that will ‘start changing our lives’.
Mr Hancock wiped away tears as he told Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid: ‘It’s been such a tough year for so many people and there’s William Shakespeare putting it simply for everybody that we can get on with our lives’.
But in a gloomy warning for Britain he added: ‘There’s still a few months to go, I’ve still got this worry that we can’t blow it now Piers, we’ve still got to get the vaccine to millions of people so we’ve got to keep sticking to the rules, there’s so much work gone into this – it makes me proud to be British’.
Later in the Commons a more composed Mr Hancock gave a statement to MPs on the vaccine’s rollout and joined in on the Shakespeare puns, declaring: ‘If you prick us, do we not bleed?’
Boris Johnson, who watched people getting vaccinated at Guy’s Hospital yesterday, said: ‘It’s a shot in the arm for the entire nation, but we can’t afford to relax now’.
At 6.30am, wearing a bright blue ‘Merry Christmas’ T-shirt, Mrs Keenan, known as ‘Maggie’ to friends and family, could be seen smiling under her mask as the nurse May Parsons at University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire injected her with the life-saving medicine.
Mrs Keenan, a former jewellery shop assistant who only retired four years ago, has a daughter, a son and four grandchildren.
She said: ‘I feel so privileged to be the first person vaccinated against Covid-19, it’s the best early birthday present I could wish for because it means I can finally look forward to spending time with my family and friends in the New Year after being on my own for most of the year.
‘I can’t thank May and the NHS staff enough who have looked after me tremendously, and my advice to anyone offered the vaccine is to take it – if I can have it at 90 then you can have it too.’
Mr Kenyon pictured showing a card provided to him by the hospital with his name and details for a follow-up appointment, saying: ‘It’s got my name on it and that’s about it. Very unexciting’
Many social media users commented on the stereotypical Britishness of Mr Kenyon, while others labelled him a ‘national treasure’ and a ‘charming man’
Boris Johnson with patient Lyn Wheeler before she received her vaccine at Guy’s in south London
Henry Vokes, 98, celebrates after receiving his jab at Southmead Hospital in Bristol
Belfast: Sister Joanna Sloan (left) becomes the first person in Northern Ireland to receive the first of two Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine jabs, at the Royal Victoria Hospital, in Belfast
Cardiff: David Farrell, 51, from Llandow, a care home worker, became one of the first people in Wales to get the vaccine
Staff at Southmead Hospital take delivery of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
The vaccine (pictured) has to be stored at minus 70C and can only be transported at elevated temperatures a limited number of times
It came as V-Day heroes last night urged vaccine sceptics to have the Covid jab for the good of the country ahead of the arrival of more than a million more doses of the Pfizer vaccine next week.
London ‘heading for TIER THREE before Christmas’: Pubs and restaurants could shut AGAIN in new rules shake up on December 16 – as figures reveal capital’s Covid infection rate is now HIGHER than 27 authorities already stuck in toughest restrictions
London’s Covid-19 infection rate is now higher than more than two dozen areas currently stuck under Tier Three restrictions, official data revealed today after Matt Hancock warned the capital is on the verge of being plunged into the toughest measures before Christmas.
Department of Health statistics show the city recorded 169.2 cases of coronavirus per 100,000 people during the seven-day spell ending December 2 — the day England’s national lockdown finished and Number 10 reverted back to its whack-a-mole style approach to thwarting local outbreaks.
For comparison, the city’s Covid infection rate stood at 151.6 in the last seven days before Downing St’s blanket intervention was imposed on November 2.
MailOnline’s analysis of Government figures show London is now recording more cases per day, for its size, than 27 of 61 authorities currently living under Tier Three curbs, including Nottingham, Leeds, Leicestershire, Bristol, Newcastle and Derby.
And 21 out of the capital’s 32 boroughs saw a rise in coronavirus infections in the last week of the shutdown, with the biggest surges in Haringey, Bromley and Kingston.
Asked whether the capital is in danger of being upgraded to Tier Three next week, the Health Secretary pointed to rising cases as he pleaded with people to keep obeying the rules. He urged the capital’s 9million residents to stick by the rules and ‘not push the boundaries’.
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson also highlighted the increase in London in an interview hailing the first vaccines being administered.
Thousands of elderly British patients made history yesterday by being the first in the world to get the injection outside of medical trials.
The national vaccination drive was launched at 70 UK hospitals, with most doses given to the over-80s. Margaret Keenan, a Coventry grandmother, was first in line, declaring: ‘If I can have it at 90, then you can have it too.’
Lyn Wheeler, 81, who was given the Pfizer jab in front of Boris Johnson at Guy’s in London, called for everyone to do their duty so normal life can resume.
‘It’s all for Britain,’ she added. ‘I’m going for it because I feel there’s no other way forward. We can’t keep sitting in our houses.’
The PM said: ‘You have seen Lyn take it, you have seen people take the vaccine in large numbers. There’s nothing to be nervous about. To all those who are scared – don’t be.’
Day one saw around 5,000 people vaccinated, including the elderly, care home staff and NHS workers. An initial 800,000 doses are being rolled out in the coming days and Health Secretary Matt Hancock has promised millions more before Christmas.
NHS bosses were last night told that they would received either 1.2 million or 1.6 million doses of the breakthrough Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine next week, with the remainder of an initial four million arriving the week after.
Writing in the Times Red Box, NHS England medical director Stephen Powis said GP surgeries would ‘join up’ across the country to support hospitals in the delivery of the jab, followed by larger vaccine hubs in key locations.
Hospitals have been told they will be expected to use a minimum of one box of vaccine – 975 doses – during the first week, suggesting a total of almost 70,000.
Designated family doctors have been asked to operate from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, calling patients in for appointments by phone, message and letter.
Further stocks are due to arrive next week, before being checked and distributed to hospitals and surgeries across the UK from a secret storage facility.
Mr Hancock said he hoped ‘several million’ vulnerable people will have been given the jab by Christmas, paving the way for the easing of coronavirus restrictions by spring. Professor Stephen Powis, medical director of NHS England, hailed yesterday as a turning point for the pandemic.
‘This is the way out of it, the beginning of the end,’ he added. ‘It’s not going to happen tomorrow, it’s not going to happen next week or next month. We still need to socially distance, we need to follow all those restrictions in place.
‘But, in 2021, vaccination programmes will mean we can get back to normality.’
NHS England’s chief executive Simon Stevens said: ‘Less than a year after the first case of this new disease was diagnosed, the NHS has now delivered the first clinically approved Covid-19 vaccination – that is a remarkable achievement.’
Sir Simon also thanked all the scientists, health workers and volunteers who helped with the breakthrough.
US regulators last night confirmed that the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine was strongly protective against Covid-19.
The Food and Drug Administration is expected to give the jab the green light within days, paving the way for thousands of Americans to join Britain’s vaccination efforts.
Coronavirus was involved in a quarter of deaths recorded in the final week of November, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The number of fatalities in England and Wales fell for the first time in more than two months as the lockdown drew toward an end.
Despite the fall in overall deaths, Covid fatalities rose and more people died than has been typical for the same time of the year.
There were 12,456 deaths in the week that ended on November 27 – 79 fewer than in the previous week.
Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of the NHS, watches as a nurse administers the first of two Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine jabs to Frank Naderer, 82, at Guy’s Hospital in London
A member of staff takes a tray containing phials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine out of a fridge as 100 hospitals and NHS sites begin the rollout of the vaccine
Michael Tibbs, 99, receiving COVID vaccine from Liz Rix, Chief Nurse at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth
A huge team of Doctors and Nurses are ready to start vaccinating the Gwent population in South Wales. 300 people will receive the vaccine at a sports centre in Cwmbran
Covid-19 vaccination record card and ‘I’ve had my covid vaccination’ stickers at the Royal Victoria Infirmary. Some are concerned about being told to carry the card at all times