The first Briton to get the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine — 90-year-old Margaret Keenan — received the first of two doses at 6:31 a.m. local time on Tuesday at University Hospital in Coventry, less than a week after the UK became the first country to approve it.
Keenan, who turns 91 next week, said she felt “privileged” to be the first to get the shot.”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,” she said, according to a statement released by the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).
Keenan told UK media the shot was “fine, I wasn’t nervous at all,” calling it “wonderful, really. This is for a good cause so I’m so pleased I had it done. This is a terrible, terrible disease so we do want rid of it,” she added.
Keenan advised others eligible for the vaccine to take up the offer: “I would say go for it,” she said. “If I can do it, well, so can you”.
William Shakespere, 81, known to friends as Bill, was the second person to get a Covid-19 vaccine at the University Hospital in Coventry on Tuesday.
Shakespere, a patient on the hospital’s frailty ward, sat with his grandchildren’s artwork nearby as he received the jab.
London, George Dyer became one of the first people in the capital to get the jab at Croydon Health Services, while nurse Joanna Sloan was the first person in Northern Ireland to receive the vaccine.
The logistical challenges of manufacturing and distributing tens of millions of vaccines mean the roll-out will be gradual, with the most vulnerable people and health care workers first in line.
William Shakespeare, 81, receives the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, at University Hospital, Coventry, England on Tuesday.
May Parsons, the nurse who administered the first jab, said she was honored to be involved in the program. “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,” she said.
Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister, told UK media on Tuesday morning that the vaccine “will gradually make a huge, huge difference.”