A 91-year-old man whose interview with CNN after he was vaccinated for coronavirus became an internet hit said he was bemused by the commotion he caused by talking about the jab, and described anti-vaxxers as “very silly”.
Martin Kenyon, 91, was outside Guy’s hospital in London after receiving the Pfizer Covid vaccine when he encountered the CNN correspondent Cyril Vanier. Asked how it felt to be one of the first people in the world to receive the jab, he said: “I don’t think I feel much at all, except that I hope that I’m not going to have the bloody bug now.”
The interview racked up millions of views. But speaking to the Guardian outside his home in London, Kenyon said he thought the footage was “deeply uninteresting”. He said: “Have people not got better things to talk about?”
Kenyon said his daughters were getting “quite excited” about the interest he had received, but he had yet to have a proper conversation with them as the “press kept interrupting when they phoned him”.
He said he was feeling OK a day after being vaccinated. “I forgot to look at the information they gave me [about possible side-effects] but at my age, all sorts of things ache,” he added.
When asked what he thought of anti-vaxxers who were opposed to getting jabs, he said: “I think they are very silly. But it’s not something I talk about with friends – we talk about more interesting things.”
As someone who grew up during the second world war, Kenyon said that he found that time more unsettling than the current pandemic. “I was a schoolboy then … The war went on for a very long time and I was in church when it was announced we were at war with Germany. One does not forget that,” he said.
Kenyon was involved in the anti-apartheid movement and is the godfather of one of Desmond Tutu’s daughters. Tutu is also godfather to one of Kenyon’s daughters. The pair met as students in London. He said the two became friends immediately. “We went off talking and didn’t draw a breath,” he said.
Speaking about getting the vaccination on Tuesday, he said: “I did not feel it at all. That is the end of it really. It’s a deeply boring subject.” He said that he did not want to catch the virus so that he could continue “making a nuisance” of himself and enjoying life.
“I am looking forward to hugging my grandchildren. They are the ones who were most likely to give it [coronavirus] to me … and they like hugging me. This period has been a challenge, but we must make sure that life goes on. We all want to get back to normal and I am sure that will happen.”