Former Archbishop of York opens up about previous serious illness after receiving Covid vaccination

Dr John Sentamu has opened up about suffering from a previous serious illness, to stress the importance of vaccinations, after he received the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine recently.

Dr John Sentamu, who retired last year as the Archbishop of York and Church of England’s second most senior figure, had the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine yesterday and urged others who get the chance to follow suit.

The 71-year-old stressed the importance of vaccinations by drawing on his own experience of being “very poorly” after he caught a flu virus in December 1990, which resulted in suffering from pneumonia, and being admitted to King’s Hospital, in South London, for three weeks.

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"I was very poorly," he told The Yorkshire Post.

He added ever since he is now vaccinated against flu each year and has received three boosts against pneumonia.

“I am very grateful for such amazing free gifts from the NHS,” said Dr Sentamu, the UK's first black archbishop, who retired in June 2020 after 15 years.

Dr Sentamu, who posted a picture on twitter of himself receiving the vaccine yesterday, told The Yorkshire Post, the “more widely” the picture is shared “the better.”

He added: "COVID-19 is a deadly insidious enemy whose sole purpose is to kill.

The former Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu, pictured yesterday being vaccinated by Nurse Christine. Photo credit: Submitted picture

"Thanks to the scientific community who have been working on the possibility of such a virus.

"Normally it would have taken 10 years but it has taken a year.

"Please! Please! I beseech you to go and take the jab to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community."

Dr Sentamu was without his wife Margaret, when he received the vaccine, however he tweeted she would be receiving her vaccine on Friday.

Dr John with John Sentamu, the former Archbishop of York, pictured last year at Bishopthorpe Palace, York. Photo credit: Simon Hulme/JPIMedia

His comments come amid growing concern about a lower uptake of the vaccine in BAME communities, which faith leaders have been trying to counter by dispelling fears and anxieties.

"Answer the call and be vaccinated. Play a blinder against COVID-19," said Dr Sentamu. "This is our responsibility together."

It comes as data released by the Royal College of GPs - and shared with Sky News - found that 90 per cent of vaccine doses administered so far have been given to white people.

It found that people of mixed ethnicity, Asian and black are, respectively, approximately only 33, 47 and 64 per cent as likely to receive a jab as white people.

The group is calling for a nationwide campaign, backed by faith leaders and prominent BAME public figures, to try to increase vaccine take-up.

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