LAST week marked a momentous breakthrough in our battle against Coronavirus

With the start of the vaccine roll-out we can all begin to hope for a very different year in 2021 than we have experienced since March. 

Like many of you I was thrilled to see the pictures last Tuesday of Margaret Keenan, the 90-year-old in Coventry who was the first person in the UK to receive a vaccination. And like many of you I shared in the amusement of the world to discover that the second vaccine recipient was no other than a Mr William Shakespeare from Warwickshire. 

His namesake wrote that “all’s well that ends well” and in the next few months we will begin to see how this pandemic that has shaped so many lives will be ended by the ingenuity of the international scientific community and the dedication of all those who have worked to keep us safe.  

Glasgow Times: Margaret KeenanMargaret Keenan

One of the other notable vaccine recipients last week was the 91 year old grandfather from London, Martin Kenyon, who found worldwide acclaim for his quintessentially British interview on CNN where he declared “no point dying now is there” and said that he was late for his appointment because he couldn’t find anywhere to park his car! 

For the priority recipients like Martin, and the NHS and care staff who will be receiving the vaccine over the coming weeks, as well as the rest of us that will have to wait that little bit longer – it’s really incumbent on everyone to do their civic duty and ensure that, if possible, they are vaccinated when invited.  

That was why I was pleased to see the result of polling released last week on this subject, which showed that 77% of Scots will ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ take a Covid vaccine, with 16%‘undecided’ and just 6% 
of respondents saying they ‘probably’ or ‘definitely’ would not be vaccinated. 

While these numbers are encouraging at this stage, we know we all need to do all we can to combat misinformation propagated online by so called ‘anti-vaxxers’ in order to further increase the numbers of people who will be confident to take a vaccine. 

So if there is anyone in your life who you are worried that might be susceptible to this kind of misinformation, please do your best to share with them trusted and verified sources of information and point them in the direction of qualified health professionals who will be able to address whatever concerns they may have.  

Just like the battle against this disease, I’m so proud of the solidarity across these islands with which the British people have met this vaccine announcement. 

Glasgow Times: William Shakespeare - not that one - became the second person to receive the jab in the UK William Shakespeare - not that one - became the second person to receive the jab in the UK

Over the last nine months we’ve had our share of political disagreements, and I’m sure that in the run up to the Scottish Parliament elections next year we will have plenty more, but the truth is that this virus has no respect for borders constructed on a map hundreds of years ago – whether within the United Kingdom or beyond. 

This experience of a global pandemic has reminded us that many of the things we have taken for granted were hard fought for. Over the coming months, let’s all give thanks for what is yet to come while at the same time remembering those who have suffered. 
Shakespeare’s Romeo may have uttered the words ‘what light through yonder window breaks’ about his true love Juliet, but for us the light of normality at the end of this tunnel of sorrow is now that little bit brighter.