Never-seen-before pictures show ‘heroics’ of UK Covid-19 vaccine programme

The Covid-19 vaccination programme has been celebrated with a series of pictures. Credit: PA

A picture of a man getting the Covid-19 jab in his garden on Rathlin Island is among a collection of images showcasing people behind the national vaccination effort.

The never-seen-before photographs capture moments across the UK in museums, stadiums and cathedrals over the past few months.

They come as figures confirm that more than half of the UK’s total population has received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Government data up to April 23 shows that of the 45,580,400 jabs given in the UK so far, 33,508,590 were first doses.

A vaccinator beams at the camera in Aston Villa FC.

The UK population is estimated to be 66,796,807, so the latest figures show that more than half the population have now had their first jab.

The series of images, taken by photojournalists Jude Palmer, Glenn Edward and Liam McBurney, showcase the size and scale of the UK-wide vaccination programme and have been published by the government ahead of a new campaign urging under-50s to get the jab.

Pictures include smiling portraits of vaccinators and volunteers, a bird’s eye view of socially distanced patients awaiting their jabs in Salisbury Cathedral, and an elderly couple holding hands at a vaccination site in Ulverston, Cumbria.

A couple make their way to a vaccination centre in Wetherby Medical Centre.

The three photographers captured the images throughout February and March as they travelled to mobile vaccination units, care homes and pop-up vaccination sites.

Ms Palmer said: “While the pandemic has been an incredibly difficult time in our history, it had to be documented.

“It’s been an honour to witness the incredible rollout of the life-saving vaccine first-hand and document this in a meaningful, compassionate way.

A volunteer at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builthwell, Wales.

“The photography project tells many genuine stories of people involved in the vaccine programme and those that have come forward to have their vaccine already, from their smiles, laughs, nerves, and sighs of relief as we get one step closer to a more normal way of life.”

Mr McBurney, from Belfast, was the photographer behind the lens for the image captured on Rathlin Island, off the coast of Northern Ireland.

Dr Gavin Chestnutt travelling to Rathlin Island to provide vaccinations. Credit: Glenn Edward, Liam McBurney and the NHS
A man gets his vaccination outside on Rathlin Island, off the coast of Northern Ireland.

Dr Gavin Chestnutt, 42, GP partner at Ballycastle Medical Practice and part-time farmer, is seen vaccinating 92-year-old Duncan Smythe in his front garden overlooking the Rathlin Island coastline.

Dr Chestnutt said: “It’s been a real honour to play such a central part in the vaccine rollout programme and witness people’s physical relief as they get their first and second jabs.

People waiting at the vaccination centre in Salisbury Cathedral Credit: Glenn Edward, Liam McBurney and the NHS

“To save elderly people travelling to the clinic through snow and frosty conditions, I’ve been travelling round on boats and by car to reach the most remote corners of Northern Ireland.

“Most overwhelming has been to see how grateful everyone has been for getting their vaccine and finally seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.”

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said the images provide an opportunity for people to look back on the vaccination programme and reflect on the efforts made to protect those most vulnerable to Covid-19.

A medical professional prepares to administer the Covid-19 vaccine at Priory Medical Centre, Leeds.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “These incredible photographs show the heroic efforts of thousands of vaccinators and volunteers in every corner of the UK who have given so much to protect the most vulnerable in our society against this cruel virus.

“While there is much to celebrate with over 45.5 million Covid-19 vaccine doses administered so far, the battle is not yet over.

“I urge everyone to do their bit – when you get the call, get the jab.”