Wragby couple reveal their crucial role in trial of Oxford vaccine

A Wragby couple - who own a business in Market Rasen - have played a crucial role in trials for the new Covid 
vaccine which was rolled out earlier this week.

Sandra and Graham Turner. EMN-210401-144452001

The rollout of the Oxford/
AstraZeneca coronavirus 
vaccine started on Monday, with the first patient receiving the jab at a hospital in Oxford.

Graham and Sandra 
Turner own Turners of Market Rasen in Oxford Street.

The couple were contacted earlier this year and asked whether they would be interested in taking part in the Oxford vaccine trial.

Speaking to the Rasen Mail, Sandra said: “We started the trial in August and we were chosen.

“They came to our home for the trial - they visited weekly for four weeks and now it is a monthly visit for the rest of the year I would presume.

“We did Covid tests every week and we now get monthly tests.

“If we get a positive reading we have to self-isolate.

“We felt that it (the trial) was 
something that we could do mainly because of being 
vulnerable.

“I am a vulnerable person so we couldn’t go out and help - but we normally would.

“Another reason was 
because as a mother if things go wrong you want to be able to hug your children and help them and make them feel better.

“This was a way of helping our closer family and the wider public and of course humanity.

“We felt that knowing that we were Covid free was good for our business and knowing that we could continue to serve our customers Covid free so we were not harming them.”

Sandra explained that 
during the trial period, Graham tested positive for the virus.

She added: “We wouldn’t have known because he was asymptomatic.

Reflecting on the trial, Sandra said: “It is fantastic to have been part of it.

“The fact that the vaccine has now been rolled out is life-changing.

“We haven’t had the vaccine yet but our time will come.

“We are doing our bit.”

•Dialysis patient Brian 
Pinker, an 82 year old retired maintenance manager, became the first person in the world to receive the vaccine 
developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca vaccine 
outside of clinical trials.

In a statement issued by NHS England on Monday, Mr Pinker said: “I am so pleased to be getting the Covid vaccine today.

“I am really proud that it is one that was invented in Oxford.

“The nurses, doctors and staff today have all been brilliant and I can now really look forward to celebrating my 48th wedding anniversary with my wife Shirley later this year.”

More than 500,000 doses of the vaccine are now ready for use and will be administered throughout the UK.

Around 530,000 doses of the jab are initially being rolled out at six hospital trusts in Oxford, Sussex, Lancashire, Warwickshire, and two in London.

Most of the other doses will then be sent to more than 700 GP-led services and care homes across the UK later this week, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the NHS would be able to deliver two million doses of the coronavirus vaccine per week if it receives enough supplies.