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U.K. Couple Becomes One Of The 1st Pfizer Vaccine Recipients


Victor and Penny Griffiths became one of the very first couples in the world to get the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine this week. They are 86 and 80 years old and received their shots at Basildon Hospital in Essex, England, where the couple worked for years. Victor Griffiths is a radiographer. Penny Griffiths is a nurse. The Griffiths now join us from their home. Thanks so much for being with us. Mr. Griffiths, how are you? How do you feel?

VICTOR GRIFFITHS: Good morning. We both feel absolutely fine.

PENNY GRIFFITHS: Wouldn't have known we had one.

V GRIFFITHS: No, we wouldn't have known we've had the injection - no reactions, no pain in the arm, nothing.

SIMON: Well, that's wonderful to hear.

P GRIFFITHS: There was no mark, either, where the injection went in. I didn't feel a thing, seriously. And I haven't any effect for me afterwards.

SIMON: Now, I understand you have a son who did have COVID-19, right?

V GRIFFITHS: Yes, yes.

SIMON: And how is he doing?

V GRIFFITHS: He's recovering now. He's still quite fatigued, but he's over the worst and he's back to virtually full-time work now.

SIMON: What kind of work is that?

V GRIFFITHS: He works in Basildon Hospital as well.

SIMON: Oh, mercy. Now, I understand Basildon has had one of the highest infection rates in the U.K., right?

V GRIFFITHS: Yeah, Basildon has a very, very high incidence of it, yes, yes.

SIMON: So what have these months been like?

V GRIFFITHS: Well, of course, I've been retired for many years now. And we've just enjoyed ourselves, my wife and I, at home together. And we've still been going out shopping, but we've been very careful not to mix and to obey social distancing.

P GRIFFITHS: We've been wearing masks, yes?

SIMON: Yeah, wearing masks, Mr. Griffiths?

V GRIFFITHS: Yeah, wearing masks, yeah. We've done all the things that the government has told us we should do, and we've done.

SIMON: I am told the two of you are accomplished ballroom dancers.

P GRIFFITHS: Yes, well (laughter), I don't know about accomplished.

V GRIFFITHS: We ballroom dance for enjoyment.

SIMON: Have you been able to dance these past eight or nine months, I guess in your home?

V GRIFFITHS: No, no, no. Nothing at all, no.


V GRIFFITHS: We're also keen, not very good golfers. We haven't been able to golf either.

SIMON: And you have 13 grandchildren, I'm told.

V GRIFFITHS: We have, yes, 13 grandchildren, yes.

P GRIFFITHS: Two sons that are radiographers and two daughter-in-laws in radiography.

V GRIFFITHS: There you are.

SIMON: Oh, my.

V GRIFFITHS: Did you hear that, yeah?

SIMON: I did. I did. So you'll be able to see them now. Is that possible?

V GRIFFITHS: Well, we've only had the first injection.

SIMON: Oh, yes.

V GRIFFITHS: There's a booster injection in three weeks' time. So we still - we'll still obey the social distancing and everything else for the time being.

SIMON: Yeah. Well, I guess everybody should be doing that. And...


SIMON: ...Is there any message you would have for people in the world who, you know, have worries about getting the vaccine for one reason or another?

V GRIFFITHS: Our message is quite clear. If you're offered or if you can get the vaccine, please go ahead. We've gone ahead, and we feel absolutely fine. And I think everybody who can get it should have it and make the world a safer place for the future.

SIMON: Mrs. Griffiths, anything you want to add?

V GRIFFITHS: Anything you want to add?

P GRIFFITHS: No, I agree with that. I don't often disagree with him, but, no, I do agree with this.

SIMON: Oh, my word. You know, I feel better just talking to both of you. You've been kind of a booster injection for us today. Thank you. Victor and Penny Griffiths in Essex, England, thank you so much for being with us. Good luck.

V GRIFFITHS: It's a pleasure. Thank you.

P GRIFFITHS: It's a Welsh name, isn't it?

V GRIFFITHS: Goodbye. Goodbye. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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