Dec 8: 90-year-old grandmother Margaret Keenan became the first person in the world to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech jab against COVID as the UK kicked off its biggest-ever vaccine campaign in history on Tuesday.
Maggie was given the life-saving jab by nurse May Parsons at a local hospital in Coventry to mark what the National Health Service (NHS) has dubbed a “landmark moment” on Vaccine Day in the fight against the deadly virus, COVID
“I am glad to be the first person vaccinated against COVID-19, it’s the best early birthday present I could wish for, it means I can finally look forward to spending time with my family and friends in the New Year,” said Maggie, who turns 91 next week.
Ex jewellery shop assistant has retired four years ago has a daughter, a son, and four grandchildren and is looking forward to being able to go out again after she got the top-up booster dose 21 days later.
“Thanks is just a small word for May and the NHS staff who have looked after me tremendously, and my advice to anyone offered the vaccine is to take it – if I can have it at 90 then you can have it too,” she said.
“I’m glad that I’m able to play a part in this historic day and it’s an honour to be the first person in the country to deliver a COVID-19 jab to a patient” said nurse Parsons.
Maggie is among the first set of people for the jab based on pre-determined health risk criteria who have been contacted in advance by the NHS and will include 87-year-old British Indian grandfather of nine Hari Shukla, who will get his first dose.
BREAKING: Margaret Keenan, 90, becomes first person in the world to receive the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, from Filipino nurse May Parsons who has worked in the NHS for 24yrs.
How wonderful that this historic global moment happened in the UK, at University Hospital, Coventry. 👏👏 pic.twitter.com/kOag8uROy1
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) December 8, 2020
“I’m so glad that we are hopefully coming towards the end of this pandemic and I did my bit by having the COVID vaccine, I feel it is my duty to do so and do whatever I can to help,” said Dr Shukla, a race relations campaigner.
They have been picked based on the criteria set by the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization phased rollout based on those at the highest risk of death from the deadly virus.
People aged 80 and home care workers will be first to receive the jab this week, along with NHS workers who are at higher risk among the first to receive the “life-saving jab“.
“Today marks a huge step forward in the UK’s fight against coronavirus, as we begin delivering the vaccine to the first patients across the whole country. I am immensely proud of the scientists who developed the vaccine, members of the public who took part in trials, and the NHS who have worked tirelessly to prepare for rollout” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
However, the Prime Minister of the UK struck a note of caution to say that mass vaccination will take time, and therefore there was a need to remain “clear-eyed” about the challenges that remain.
“As the program ramps up in the weeks and months ahead, it is as important as ever to keep to the COVID Winter plan – following the rules in your area and remember the basics of hands, face and space,” he said.
The Pfizer vaccine got the green light from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) last week, the NHS said.
BREAKING: The 2nd person in the world to have the Covid vaccine is… this is not a joke… WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE from Warwickshire!!! pic.twitter.com/yNbPLXLhfP
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) December 8, 2020
Workers have been working day and night to manage the huge scale logistical challenge of deploying the vaccine. Over the weekend, hospitals have begun inviting over the 80s in for a jab and work with care home providers to book their staff into vaccination clinics.
“We will look back on today, as a key moment in our fight back against this terrible disease and I am proud of our health services across the United Kingdom are about to embark on our largest ever a vaccination program,” said UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
“With over-80s and frontline health and care staff receiving their vaccinations from today, the whole country will breathe a collective sigh of relief as our most vulnerable loved ones start to be given protection from the virus.
“Now it is the time to sit tight and remain patient until you get notified by the NHS that it’s time for your vaccination. Until then, protect yourselves and the NHS by continuing to follow local restrictions. We can see light at the end of the tunnel but still have a long way to go,” he said.
The Pfizer/BionTech formula is an mRNA vaccine that uses a tiny fragment of genetic code from the pandemic virus to teach the body how to fight COVID-19 and build immunity.
The MHRA has stressed it has been cleared for mass rollout only after “rigorous” safety tests despite the process being speeded up due to the urgency of finding an effective vaccine against COVID that has wreaked havoc around the world.
“Today is just a step in the largest vaccination program this country has ever seen. It will take some months to complete the work. More vaccine supplies become available and until then we must not drop our guard,” said NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens.