Margaret Keenan, 90, First In The World To Receive Approved COVID-19 Vaccine
History in the making occurred today in the United Kingdom as they are the first country that began administering their citizens with the vaccine to COVID-19.
The first to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was 90 year old Margaret Keenan. She received the first of two doses this morning at 6:31 a.m. local time by nurse May Parsons at University Hospital in Coventry. This landmark event occurred less than a week after the U.K. was the first country in the world to receive an emergency approval of the drug.
“It’s the best early birthday present I could wish fro 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,” said Keenan, who turns 91 next week, in a statement released by the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS). She advised all who are eligible for the vaccine to do it. “I would say go for it. If I can do it, well, so can you. This is for a good cause so I’m pleased I had it done. This is a terrible disease so we do want rid of it.”
Parsons felt honored that she was the first to administer the vaccine and said, “The last few months have been tough for all of us working in the NHS, but now it feels like there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
Bill Shakespeare, 81, was the second person to receive the vaccine at the hospital in Coventry. Nurse Joanna Sloan was the first to receive the vaccine in Northern Ireland while George Dyer was among the first to get the shot In London at Croydon Health Services.
“COVID-19 is a terrible thing and I feel very lucky that I can now get the vaccine to keep the virus away,” stated Dyer, a hospital volunteer. “It’s like I’m about to be given a new lease of life, and I cannot wait to get back out there and make myself useful again.”
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to U.K. media Tuesday morning stating that the vaccine “will gradually make a huge, huge difference.” Earlier this week, the country has once again reopened after a second national lockdown in November, including London’s West End, home to various theaters, has reopened productions to audiences for the first time since March with strict COVID-19 guidelines in place.
Just because some aspects of life are starting to return to normal, the PM still believes that now is not the time to let their guard down and to not be afraid of the vaccine. “I would just like to say to all those who are scared, don’t be… you see people take the vaccine this morning… there is nothing to be nervous about.”
Johnson was hospitalized earlier this year with COVID-19 and will not take receive the vaccine yet as he is not in the priority group.
The U.K. ordered 40 million does of Pfizer’s vaccine but only 800,000 shots will only be available starting Tuesday. They country also ordered seven million doses of Moderna’s vaccine but it has not been approved for emergency use yet.