University of Northampton photography lecturer captures historic first Oxford-AstraZeneca jab

Date 19.01.2021

A University of Northampton academic captured history in the making when he filmed the first person to receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.

Photography lecturer, John Hunt, was in the room to document dialysis patient Brian Pinker, 82, receive the jab at the Churchill Hospital, in Oxford, on Monday 4 January.

John was there in his freelance videographer and media producer role for Oxford Medical Illustration, which is part of Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, recording footage for its publicity and social media channels.

Despite coming a full month after Coventry grandmother, Margaret Keenan, became the first person in the world to receive a coronavirus vaccine, made by Pfizer, John thinks the Oxford story has received much more attention in the UK.

“Although he’s not the first to be vaccinated, Brian Pinker’s story seems to have generated much greater, and longer-running interest,” said John.

“I think that’s down to it being a British vaccine, developed by researchers at Oxford University. So, while it wasn’t the first vaccine to be administered, being in the room when Brian received his jab felt like a truly historic moment, to me.”

While the medical team got on with the task, John had to use his experience to make sure he captured the moments in a professional manner.

The 52-year-old, who lives in Standlake, Oxfordshire, said: “As a photographer, you have to do a bit of directing to get the right angles for the very best shots, while also not holding up the process too much. You also need the technical know-how to know how to get the best out of the equipment you use.

“These are the sort of skills we teach students on the Photography course. Being able to take a good photo is only half of the job. While we concentrate most of our teaching on taking stills, we do now include filming so they have a competent knowledge and skill level for video.

“Stills and video have enjoyed something of a convergence in recent years and photographers need skills for both. This makes the students ready for the world of work, because the more strings they have to their bow, the more attractive they’ll be to employers.”

While his role in documenting the Oxford vaccine was professionally satisfying, John also has a personal interest in the importance of vaccinations.

He said: “I hope the footage will reassure those who are wary of getting the jab that it is something they shouldn’t be scared of. Having worked alongside some of the best medical minds on the planet, I know coronavirus is serious, and people need to listen to the experts.”

John added: “I’d also like to pay tribute to the skills of the NHS staff, and the all-round brilliance of the NHS. To be in the same room as people administering the vaccine and saving lives was humbling.”

Pictured above is John’s footage of nurse, Sam Foster, administering the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to Brian Pinker, at Oxford’s Churchill Hospital.