90-year-old Margaret Keenan became the first person to receive the Covid-19 vaccine outside of clinical trials in the United Kingdom since it was approved by UK authorities. She received the first two doses at the University Hospital in Coventry.
ITV News reports that Margaret Keenan, who is from Coventry and will be 91 next week, said: “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.”
The jab, made by US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer and German manufacturers BioNTech, will continue to be rolled out in 14 locations across the UK on Tuesday as the country’s biggest vaccination program kicks off.
And fronting the start of the fightback against the coronavirus pandemic is retired jeweller Margaret, who wore a blue Christmas t-shirt as the jab was quickly given without her “feeling a thing.”
With three weeks until her second jab, she should complete her course of injections just after Christmas, with full immunisation expected in the first week of January.
Husband and wife Hari and Ranjan Shukla are also set for their first doses on Tuesday in Newcastle and said they feel “the crisis is going to come to an end.”
Mr Shukla, who said he got the call on Friday from his doctor, said on Monday: “It’s an excellent idea, we will certainly do whatever we can because we are very excited about it.
“When we heard that we’ve got the vaccine now, we felt that the crisis is going to come to an end.”
He added: “I was very excited I got the opportunity of joining in and taking part, so we are very, very pleased and happy and excited as well.”
The couple join Margaret among the few to be vaccinated before the New Year, with the government expecting “the majority” of vulnerable people to follow suit in January and February.
Downing Street would not confirm whether they were expecting all 4 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to arrive by the end of the year.
Croydon University Hospital in south London was one of the first hospitals to take delivery of the vaccine over the weekend, with similar scenes unfolding around the country ahead of the rollout.
Around 25 million people are covered by the 10 priority categories set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.
The first vaccinations will go to care home staff and residents, NHS frontline workers and people aged 80 and over – around six million people.
But Westminster stressed that two further vaccines were still being assessed by regulators, which could boost the number of doses available.
There are 800,000 doses in the first tranche, meaning 400,000 people will be vaccinated initially.