A 90-year-old woman became the world’s first patient to receive the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine following its approval in the UK, as the NHS launched its largest vaccination campaign on Tuesday.
Margaret Keenan received the puncture around 6.45am in Coventry, marking the start of a historic mass vaccination program.
The vaccines will be administered at 50 hospitals across the country, with first in line being patients 80 and older who already attend the hospital as outpatients and those who are being discharged after a hospital stay.
Keenan, known to family and friends as Maggie, was hit by nurse May Parsons at her local hospital in Coventry and called it a “privilege.”
The former jewelry assistant turns 91 next week and only retired four years ago.
Keenan, who has a daughter, a son and four grandchildren, said: “I feel very privileged to be the first person vaccinated against Covid-19, it is the best anticipated birthday gift I could wish for because it means that I can finally look forward to spending time with my family and friends in the new year after being alone for most of the year.
“I can’t thank May and the NHS staff enough who have taken such tremendous care of me, and my advice to anyone who has been offered the vaccine is to take it – if I can have it at 90, you can have it too.”
Parsons said it was a “great honor” to be the first in the country to deliver the vaccine to a patient.
“I am glad to be able to participate in this historic day. The last few months have been difficult for all of us who work in the NHS, but now it seems that there is light at the end of the tunnel, ”said Parsons, who is originally from the Philippines and has worked in the NHS for the last time. 24 years.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was thrilled to see the video of Keenan receiving the vaccine and praised the moment as “a triumph of science and human ingenuity.”
Several million more doses will arrive in the UK this month, Hancock told Sky News, although he declined to give an exact figure, saying it depends on the manufacturing and transport process.
“We have a high degree of confidence in the delivery that will come next week,” he said.
The Health Secretary also said that the government hopes to begin rolling out the vaccine in nursing homes before Christmas, and that restrictions on the coronavirus could be lifted in the spring, once enough people vulnerable to Covid-19 have been vaccinated.
However, he warned that people should continue to obey coronavirus restrictions.
“We have to stick together and we have to follow the rules… It is not good for everyone to relax now, we have to stand firm until the vaccination program has reached enough vulnerable people so that we don’t have people dying from coronavirus in the amount that we do today. “
NHS England Executive Director Sir Simon Stevens said it was a historic moment and “the first step in the largest vaccination program this country has ever seen.”
“Less than a year after the first case of this new disease was diagnosed, the NHS has delivered the first clinically approved Covid-19 vaccine, which is a remarkable achievement,” Stevens said.
Keenan has been isolated for most of this year and is planning to have a little family “bubble” at Christmas. She is one of 400,000 people who will receive the first batch of 800,000 doses of vaccine and receive a booster dose in 21 days.
The Health Department is also asking home care providers to begin hiring staff at vaccination clinics, and healthcare workers who are most at risk of severe illness from Covid-19 are also expected to be next in line. .
Hospital centers, vaccination centers and other community locations, as well as GP offices and pharmacies, will be used in the gigantic launch of the vaccine, although health chiefs face a complex logistical challenge.
Pfizer vaccine must be stored at -70 ° C before thawing and can only be moved four times within that cold chain before use.
Hancock said patients will receive a standard NHS reminder card for their follow-up appointment and there are no plans for immunity certificates for those who have received the vaccine.
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