The UK has officially administered the first Pfizer COVID-19 jab, after becoming the first country to push the vaccine through emergency approval last week.
Margaret Keenan, who turns 91 next week, was the first person to officially receive the vaccine at her local hospital in Coventry on Tuesday.
“I feel so privileged to be the first person vaccinated against COVID-19, she said.
“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.”
“I can’t thank May and the NHS staff enough 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!”
NHS nurse May Parsons was the first in the country to officially deliver the vaccine.
“It’s a huge honour to be the first person in the country to deliver a COVID-19 jab to a patient. I’m just glad that I’m able to play a part in this historic day,” she 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.”
Under the NHS vaccine program, people aged 80 and over as well as care home workers will be first to receive the jab, along with NHS workers who are at higher risk.
Patients aged 80 and above who are already attending hospital as an outpatient, and those who are being discharged home after a hospital stay, will be among the first to be vaccinated.
Hospitals will also begin inviting over 80s in for a jab and work with care home providers to book their staff into vaccination clinics.
Today the first vaccinations in the UK against COVID-19 begin. Thank you to our NHS, to all of the scientists who worked so hard to develop this vaccine, to all the volunteers – and to everyone who has been following the rules to protect others. We will beat this together. https://t.co/poOYG1vHQe
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) December 8, 2020
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock is referring to this historic day as “V-day”, according to ABC News.
“We will look back on today, V-day, as a key moment in our fightback against this terrible disease,” he said.
The move could mean we are one step closer to international travel, as governments around the world eye digital travel passports that would keep track of who is or isn’t vaccinated.
However, Australia’s Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, said last week that while the government welcomes the UK’s emergency approval of the vaccine, he does not think Aussies will see the jab until at least March 2021.
Last week, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said vaccines could kick-start international travel before “travel bubbles” are established.
Featured image source: Twitter/NHSEngland