AN Oxford pensioner is urging people to make a donation to cover the cost of their coronavirus vaccination.

Lady Wendy Ball, who lives in north Oxford with her husband Sir Christopher Ball, made the suggestion after they received their vaccinations.

She said residents should consider making a donation if they had the means to do do. She and her husband are donating £1,000.

In a letter to the Oxford Times she said: “As we all know, the cost of buying and administering the Covid vaccines is a great burden on the NHS.

Read again: Boswells luxury hotel plans are given the go-ahead

According to the Office of National Statistics, there are over three million people in the 80 plus age group, to which I belong.

“If each of these is given two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, at a cost of approximately £40, the bill comes to over £130m. Even with the cheaper vaccines, the cost will still be substantial.

Oxford Mail:

“Following Captain Sir Tom Moore’s inspiring example, I would like to suggest that all those who receive a vaccine from now on, and who have the means, might consider showing their gratitude by donating the actual cost, or even a higher sum, to the NHS. 

“I and my husband will set the ball rolling by donating £1k.”

Lady Ball then urged people to visit the website to make a donation ‘however small.

She added: “For donors in the Oxford area, the website for the Oxford Hospitals Charity is

“I do hope you will join us in helping our NHS in this crisis.”

Oxford Hospitals Charity welcomed Lady Ball’s gesture.

Read again: Snow forecast in Oxford this week

Lucy Budgett said: “We feel so grateful to our kind supporters who have really helped Oxford Hospitals Charity to be there for hospital staff and patients during this most challenging of times.

Oxford Mail:

“As the Covid situation worsens once more, we are continuing to provide hot food, respite areas and medical equipment to help our busy hospital teams as they care for patients.

“It is entirely thanks to the support of our local community that we are able to do this. Wendy Ball’s wonderful idea is typical of her generous spirit.

“We very much appreciate her kindness and that of anyone else moved to support our local hospitals in appreciation of the vaccine they receive, or for any other reason. Donations to our Covid appeal can be made by visiting or calling 01865 743444.”

Jacquie Pearce-Gervis, spokeswoman for Oxfordshire-based patient watchdog Patient Voice, welcomed the proposal, describing it as ‘an admirable idea’.

She said: “We all have the greatest respect and gratitude for the NHS who are coping magnificently.

“However, we are living in extremely tough times. People have lost their jobs, been made redundant, furloughed with reduced incomes, struggling to feed their families.

“All of us are experiencing reduced incomes. We must be free to choose which charities/organisations we will support. Many are struggling considerably, as highlighted in the Oxford Mail and Times.”

Oxford GP Joe McManners welcomed Lady Ball's pledge but also stressed that there are those who would not be in a position to make a donation.

He said: "'It is very commendable, although others who can't afford it shouldn't feel they have to and we need to make sure the NHS is properly funded through taxes in future."

One Oxford Mail reader who commented on also took the view that he should not have to make a donation because he contributed to the cost of the NHS through his taxes.

The reader said: "We pay taxes and national insurance to support our NHS. Many of us have been locked out of any access to it for nearly a year now as it's transitioned to become the National Covid Service.

Oxford Mail:

"Cancer screenings have stopped, with frightening consequences to come, and very many GPs have bolted the door and getting even a telephone appointment is impossible. One now has to book in advance to go to 'Accident and Emergency' by calling 111, and the many thousands of people whose mental health is in crisis as a result of lockdown are being treated as an inconvenience.

"I don't call that very good value for my money, and the NHS certainly won't be getting another penny of my money over and above taxes I begrudgingly pay. It's not a charity, and we need to stop thinking of it as such before begging for donations becomes a norm."

Read more: Concern over mask flouters in pizzeria

Another reader added: "I can't imagine this idea will be very popular, when we pay 20% tax and 9% National Insurance.

"I'm really grateful for our NHS and have seen what things are like for people in countries where there is no free-at-the-point-of-delivery health care. I feel lucky but just can't pay any more."

But Graham Rose, 74, who lives in Appleton, with wife Judith, said he would make a donation.

They are being vaccinated in Abingdon today.