The Prince of Wales has praised staff at a vaccine factory for the part they have played in the battle against Covid-19.
On Monday, Charles visited Wockhardt UK in Wrexham, North Wales, to see for himself the company’s key role in the vaccination rollout across the UK.
Wockhardt has been instrumental in the manufacture of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and carries out the “fill and finish” stage of the process which involves dispensing the vaccine into vials ready for it to be sent out across the country.
The firm has a manufacturing contract with the UK Government in place until August 2022.
During his tour of the high-tech site, which employs more than 500 people, Charles donned protective gear to visit the firm’s quality control laboratory, where 300 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine are currently being produced.
Quality control analyst Maggie Mutete talked Charles through the process of ensuring the vaccines were suitable for use.
She said: “He was very lovely and it was a nice surprise. It’s great to work on the vaccine, it keeps us on our toes.
“We know that we are saving the world really. It’s quite nice to be a part of and it’s not something you can say every day.”
Wockhardt UK managing director Ravi Limaye said: “This is a huge moment for all of us to have His Royal Highness today at our facility. I think it is a humbling experience, a recognition for all the efforts put in by the team over the last 12 to 18 months in getting the vaccines across to the vaccination centres in the UK.
“He was very interested in the process. He was very interested in talking to people in manufacturing, quality control and our analysts. I think overall he looked very interested and very thankful for all that we have done.”
Staff team leader Nerys Roscoe, who has worked for the company for more than 20 years, said: “Lately I’ve been doing most of the training with new people so I’ve been working on the vaccine since it all started. We’ve been to Germany and since we’ve got back it’s been non-stop but it’s been really interesting.
We have never done anything like this, it’s good working on such a big thing.
It’s a bit daunting meeting the prince, everyone said it’s the quietest I’ve been. He was asking about my role and training, how many I train. There’s 20 at the moment, we have a huge influx of people.
“It’s lovely working on something huge like this knowing you are making a difference.”
Charles unveiled a plaque to mark the visit and was presented with a glass red dragon sculpture, holding an empty vial, commissioned from local artist David Pryce-Jones.