A WEST Belfast pensioner who survived Covid-19 last year has become one of the first patients to receive the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine at his local GP surgery.

Sam McClenaghan (91) is also one of the oldest surviving family members of the McGurk’s Bar bombing in December 1971, which killed 15 people.

Mr McClenaghan received his first jab of the vaccine, which was approved for use in the UK this week at 10.30am on Friday morning at the Maureen Sheehan Centre in Albert Street.

Sam, who turned 91 in December past, is a Covid-19 survivor having caught the virus along with his daughter Theresa and son-in-law Tony in April last year.

He was one of the first 60 patients of Dr Campbell and McHugh Surgery to receive the vaccine on Friday. 

The surgery has 120 patients aged 80+ who have been prioritised for vaccination today and Monday. It will then be offered to those below 80 years of age or who are in the most vulnerable health categories.  

It is hoped the surgery will cater for 100 vaccines at a time depending on a regular supply of the drug.  

The simple injection into his left arm was administered by local healthcare nurses Joanne and Roberta.  

On hand to oversee the roll-out of the entire vaccine process in person was Dr Johnny Campbell.  

Sam McClenaghan with GP Dr Johnny Campbell and healthcare nurse Roberta

Sam McClenaghan with GP Dr Johnny Campbell and healthcare nurse Roberta

He encouraged everyone from the Falls area to take the vaccine to help save lives in our community. 

"We all must play our part in eradicating this devastating disease from our midst,” he said.

“One simple way is to take the vaccine." 

Sam will receive his second dose of the vaccine at the same venue, within the next 12 weeks.