Over the weekend, officials say both Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, rolled up their royal sleeves—to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations, that is. Even those who aren’t always fans of the monarchy admit the significance of the Queen’s example.
A statement from palace officials says that the 94-year-old monarch and Philip, 99, received their jabs on Saturday. The couple joined some 1.5 million people in Britain who have already received a first dose of the vaccine aimed at immunizing people against the coronavirus.
In Britain, the news of the Queen’s choice to participate is being a called a “shot in the arm” to the hundreds of doctors and healthcare workers attempting to introduce the vaccination program.
The Queen has tried to lead by example for many years. That’s a biblical principle. In 1 Peter 5, Peter encourages church leaders to work that way, “not domineering over those in your charge, but leading by example.” Some compare the Queen’s voluntary Saturday vaccination to her involvement during the 1950s polio vaccine push.
Prior to 1956, polio paralyzed or killed more than half a million people worldwide every year, mostly young children. Back then, many parents feared the new polio vaccine would do more harm than good. Queen Elizabeth wanted to help change public opinion, so she had her children Charles and Anne, aged eight and six, vaccinated.
England’s Daily Mail newspaper wrote at the time: “Thus the Queen has followed 200,000 other mothers in using Britain’s vaccine.”
At the time, many people believe that by going public with their decision, the royal family helped convince folks to let their own children receive the vaccine—thus saving many lives.
On December 8, 2020, Britain became the world’s first country to begin a mass vaccination drive against the coronavirus. The government says it aims to deliver the first vaccine doses to some 15 million people in the top priority groups by the middle of February.
That includes everyone over age 70, as well as frontline healthcare workers, care home residents, and anyone whose health makes them especially vulnerable to the virus.
Following the Queen’s shot, royal officials took the rare step of commenting on the monarch’s health. They wanted to prevent inaccuracies and further speculation. The Queen “decided that she would let it be known she has had the vaccination,” the palace statement said.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip have been spending their time during the lockdown at Windsor Castle. The royal doctor administered the COVID-19 injections.
News of the Queen’s shot elated British Health Secretary Matt Hancock. He says, “We are defeating this virus jab by jab.”
(Britain’s Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II. Stefan Wermuth via AP)