A retired hospital consultant, who is also a priest working in South London, has vaccinated 200 vulnerable people in her Diocese.
Dr Sue Clarke is shown in a mask and PPE working at a computer

Canon Dr Sue Clarke decided to put her medical background to use as the Covid-19 vaccine began its roll out across England, including in historic cathedrals.

Having been vaccinated herself, she now volunteers as a vaccinator with a local GP surgery after completing online training and re-establishing her General Medical Council (GMC) registration.

The actual injection takes “five minutes per patient,” Dr Clarke said, yet she had already met “some extraordinary people.

“The oldest was an incredibly fit 96 year old and the youngest a 36 year old front line worker.”

The people Dr Clarke vaccinated were originally from all over the world including India, Madagascar, the Philippines, Malta, Norway, many countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Republic of Ireland.

The joy and excitement at receiving the vaccine was palpable – including one gentleman who: “Still had his pyjamas on under his outdoor clothes - he had rushed round to the hall to ensure he arrived in time.”

While some were visibly moved by the experience, including a parent who was caring for their young child with disabilities, others had more basic emotions.

A vial of Covid-19 vaccine is shown in a colour photograph

She explained: “There was the confession from a young pharmacist that he was terrified of needles and injections and the fear that he was not going to cope – he did!”

However, not all those coming forward for vaccination expect their local vicar to be administering the jab.

A number of parishioners were surprised to see me in scrubs wielding a syringe,” she joked.

After her first days of vaccinating, Dr Clarke has encouraged everyone to “continue to pray for those involved in vaccine manufacture, logistics of distribution, practicalities of administration and all of us that we together may play a part, however small it seems, in overcoming the pandemic.”

More information:

  • The Diocese of Southwalk’s leading black clergy have urged those in the UK Minority Ethnic (UKME) community to allay suspicions and to take the Covid-19 vaccination.
  • Many cathedrals in England are welcoming vaccinations taking place in their buildings.
  • One Church of England hospital chaplain has spearheaded a campaign to identify more than 1000 people over 80 ahead of their vaccinations.

Source URL: https://www.churchofengland.org/news-and-media/stories-and-features/vicar-vaccinating-vulnerable-south-london