19 January 2021

Mary Berry: Why childhood polio meant I was so pleased to get Covid-19 jab

19 January 2021

Dame Mary Berry has said she was “so pleased” to receive the coronavirus vaccination after suffering from polio as a child.

The former Great British Bake Off judge, 85, and her husband Paul Hunnings are among the more than four million people in the UK to have received a first jab.

She told Radio Times: “I was so pleased, particularly for my husband. I would encourage everyone, if it’s offered to them, to definitely have the vaccine.”

Investitures at Windsor Castle (PA Archive)

Dame Mary said contracting polio when she was 13 had made her conscious of the importance of vaccines.

She had to spend three months in hospital and was left with a “funny left hand” and a curved spine.

“I had polio, but now almost the whole world is vaccinated against it,” she said.

“If you’re in a hospital like I was, with people in callipers, people in pain, people who weren’t going to get better – I think everyone should take the vaccine, not query it, and think of others.

“I was immensely fortunate. I only had it on my left side and I’ve got a funny left hand. Everybody thinks I’ve got arthritis.

“I look a bit funny when I’m rolling pastry but I have no other difficulties whatsoever. I mean, I’m not as good at sport as I was, but I was let off very lightly. I’m grateful.”

The TV chef was made a Dame in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Other celebrities including actor Sir Ian McKellen, 81, Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith, 80, and rock and roll star Marty Wilde, 81, have also shared their experiences of being given the vaccine.

The Government is on track to vaccinate around 15 million high-priority people across the UK by February 15, including health and social care staff, the elderly and people in care homes.

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