A 90-year-old woman has become the first person in the world to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 shot following its clinical approval.
Margaret Keenan from Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, marked the start of the UK’s mass vaccination program.
At 6:31 am GMT, Keenan was given the historic life-saving shot by nurse May Parsons at University Hospital Coventry in England. According to the National Health Service (NHS), Keenan is looking forward to being able to go see her daughter and four grandchildren again.
“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,” said Keenan, who turns 91 next week.
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The NHS says Keenan has been in self-isolation for “most of this year” and still plans to have a very small bubble Christmas to keep safe during the holidays.
She will receive a booster jab in 21 days to ensure she has the best chance of being protected against the virus.
‘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!’ pic.twitter.com/mlIwvp6g0f
— NHS England and NHS Improvement (@NHSEngland) December 8, 2020
According to the NHS, the COVID-19 vaccine is typically delivered by a simple injection in the shoulder. The vaccine needs to remain stored at -70ºC before being thawed out and can only be moved four times within that cold chain period ahead of use.
The UK’s phased vaccination program will allow patients aged 80 and above who are already in hospital as outpatients, along with those who discharged home to be among the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada will receive its first COVID-19 vaccine in December.
Trudeau said Pfizer will begin early delivery of their vaccine candidate, providing up to 249,000 of their initial doses in December.
The first shipment is being tracked for delivery next week, Trudeau said. These doses are part of the up to 76 million doses Canada has secured through its existing agreement with Pfizer.
He added that more vaccines will continue to arrive in 2021. “This will move us forward on our whole timeline and is a positive development to get people protected.”
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is still pending Health Canada approval.