90-year-old UK woman receives first Covid-19 vaccine


London: Margaret Keenan, a 90-year-old grandmother on Tuesday became the first Briton/person in the world to receive the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine shot outside of a clinical trial.

The United Kingdom has become the first Western nation to begin vaccinating its citizens with a coronavirus shot outside of clinical trials, a landmark moment amid the pandemic, CNN reported.

Those who are vaccinated will be issued with a “vaccination passport” containing details such as date of vaccination and date of the first inoculation to remind people when to receive the second jab. The vaccine has to be administered twice. More than 40,000 volunteers were involved in the vaccine trials with only mild side effects being reported among the volunteers.

Keenan received the first of two vaccine doses at 6:31 am (local time) at University Hospital in Coventry, a week before she turns 91 years old.

“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,” CNN citing a statement released by the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) quoted Keenan as saying.

Keenan said she felt “privileged” to be the first to get the shot adding, the shot was “fine, I wasn’t nervous at all,” and calling it “wonderful.

“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.”

The vaccine “will gradually make a huge, huge difference,” CNN quoted Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister as saying on Tuesday.

“It is important for people to understand that the virus is, alas, still rising in some parts of the country. It is rising for instance in London,” Johnson said during his visit to NHS Covid-19 vaccination center in London.

The UK had reduced the spread of coronavirus, thanks to measures including England’s national lockdown in November, Johnson said.

“And so my message would be it’s amazing to see the vaccine come out, it’s amazing to see this tremendous shot in the arm for the entire nation, but we can’t afford to relax now,” Johnson added.

“I would just say to all those who are scared, don’t be … you see people take the vaccine this morning, in large numbers, people are going to be taking it in the next few days, and weeks and there is nothing to be nervous about,” PM said.

Asked whether he was getting the vaccine himself, Johnson said: “I am not in the priority group, I’ve had it (the virus),” Johnson said.

The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the UK has reached 1,742,525, the Johns Hopkins University and Medicine reported on Tuesday. (ANI)