Widow Joan, 87, tells anti-vaxxers: 'Don't be silly'

The Riviera International Conference Centre, Torquay

The Riviera International Conference Centre, Torquay - Credit: Ed Oldfield

Great-grandmother Joan Potham has a message for people questioning whether to have the coronavirus vaccine – 'Don’t be silly'.

The 87-year-old, from Clennon Valley, Paignton, was speaking out after receiving the Pfizer vaccine at the Riviera International Conference Centre in Torquay.

Mrs Potham has not been able to see her family for almost a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

She praised the team delivering the jabs and said the sooner people were vaccinated, the sooner life could start returning to normal.

Mrs Potham has lived alone after the death of her husband Norman around 40 years ago.

The couple ran the repair garage Darton Motors in Well Street, Paignton, which later closed and has been replaced by a block of flats.

The widow, who has two daughters, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, said she had not seen family members since February.

Most Read

Mrs Potham said she had been invited for a vaccination with a call from her GP practice, followed up by a letter with the details.

She attended the vaccination centre on Tuesday morning.

She said: “The lady with the needle said, ‘Are you ready for the jab? I said, ‘Not really’.

"We laughed, and she came round from the table. I did not feel a thing, I was so surprised when she walked away from me. It was absolutely excellent.”

Mrs Potham has a second dose of the vaccine booked for a date in early April.

She said her message to people who were considering not receiving a vaccine was: “You are being silly. It is quick and easy, and you are very silly not to have it.

“I have not seen my family since last February and it is very difficult, but I have got wonderful neighbours who ask me if I am alright, and if I need anything. When you live alone, it can be very lonely.”

The vaccination centre in Torquay is being run by Torbay’s ten GP practices.

Patients are being told not to contact their practice, but to wait to be called for a jab as they are being offered to priority groups as set out by national guidelines.

Government figures show there have been more than three million confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK and more than 90,000 deaths within 28 days of a positive test for Covid-19.

More than four million people had been given their first dose of a vaccine by Tuesday.