Sir Ben Helfgott gets the coronavirus vaccine
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Sir Ben Helfgott gets the coronavirus vaccine

Holocaust survivor and former Olympic weightlifter gets Covid jab, and says he's 'hugely grateful to those enabling a path forward for us all'

Sir Ben Helfgott
Sir Ben Helfgott

Sir Ben Helfgott is the latest Holocaust survivor to get the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

The educator and former Olympic weightlifter got the jab on Sunday with his wife Arza, amid a spike in cases which has forced large parts of the country into new stricter Tier 4 measures.

Sir Ben, 91, who was knighted for his services to Holocaust education in 2018, said he is “delighted that Arza and I have had our Stage 1 Covid Vaccination. I recognise that by taking the vaccination, I am not only protecting myself but I am reducing the pressure on the NHS were I to catch the virus.

“I am hugely grateful to the extraordinary ecosystem of government, science, philanthropy, medicine, industry and health care professionals, civil society and community that is enabling a path forward for us all”.

Hungary-born Lily Ebert, 96, got the Pfizer/BioNTech jab last week, while Eve Kugler, 89, and Harry Kessler, 90, were among the first survivors to get the vaccination when it was first rolled out nationally.

Kindertransport refugee and former Labour MP Lord Alf Dubs also announced he had received the vaccine last week. The peer said on Twitter: “Just had my jab. So efficient and quick! Get vaccinated!”

Karen Pollock, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust said: “This has been, and continues to be, a tough time for everyone. Our survivors, who so enjoy meeting and interacting with students and teachers alike, have had to stay at home for over nine months.

“I am delighted that Ben and other survivors have received the vaccine and we cannot wait to be reunited. Until then we remain inspired by their bravery and stoicism at what is undoubtedly a difficult time.”

Coronavirus has killed more than 60,000 people in the UK and 1.7 million worldwide.

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