London, Dec 8 (efe-epa).- A 90-year-old British woman on Tuesday became the first person to receive a jab for a Covid-19 vaccine developed by US pharmaceutical company Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.
The world’s media watched closely as Margaret Keenan was given the vaccine on Tuesday morning at Coventry University Hospital in central England.
Keenan is the first person to receive the jab as part of the UK’s Covid-19 vaccination scheme after British regulators last week gave the green light to the vaccine, which will be rolled out to the UK’s most vulnerable population groups starting Tuesday.
“Maggie”, as she is known to friends and family, received the first of two doses of the vaccine from Filipino nurse May Parsons under the watchful eyes of the world’s media covering the beginning of what the UK government has called “V-Day” (Vaccination Day).
Keenan, who is from Enniskillen in Northern Ireland and will turn 91 next week, is a former jewelry store employee. She has a daughter, a son and four grandchildren.
“I feel so privileged to be the first person vaccinated against Covid-19, it’s the best early birthday present I could wish for because it means I can finally look forward to spending time with my family and friends in the new year after being on my own for most of the year,” Keenan said.
She also thanked the National Health Service (NHS) for the “tremendous” care she has received and urged people to get vaccinated.
“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.
The NHS director in England, Simon Stevens, thanked everyone involved in getting the vaccination program up and running.
“Less than a year after the first case of this new disease was diagnosed, the NHS is now providing the first clinically approved Covid-19 vaccine,” he said.
Keenan, who has lived in Coventry for more than 60 years, will receive the second dose in 21 days.
About 50 hospitals in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will begin vaccinations on Tuesday for people over 80 and employees in the health and nursing home sectors, although residents themselves will have to wait until logistics allow for the transfer of the vaccine to the site in the next few days.
The UK is the first country in the world to start using the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine after its regulators approved it last week.
According to British regulators, the vaccine will be effective seven days after a person receives the second dose, although there is some protection 12 days after the first dose.
The United Kingdom has committed 40 million doses, which will allow it to vaccinate 20 million people. EFE-EPA