UK starts COVID-19 vaccinations

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

The first vaccine was delivered at 6.31am GMT this morning. Pic:getty/gam1983
The first vaccine was delivered at 6.31am GMT this morning. Pic:getty/gam1983

Related tags COVID-19 vaccine

The UK has started the biggest vaccine campaign in its history this morning: with the first COVID-19 vaccine delivered to a 90-year-old grandmother.

Margaret Keenan – who will turn 91 next week - became the first person to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine at 6.31am at University College Hospital in Coventry this morning. The UK is the first country to approve Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine, giving the candidate the green light last week, and is now rolling out the first batch of 800,000 doses manufactured by BioNTech in Belgium. More doses are being delivered next week.

Margaret Keenan is a former jewellery shop assistant who retired four years ago. She has a daughter, a son and four grandchildren and has been self-isolating for most of this year. She described the vaccine as the ‘best early birthday present I could wish for’. She will receive a second dose of the two-dose vaccine in 21 days.

The vaccine was delivered by nurse May Parsons.

The second person to receive the jab this morning was 81-year-old William Shakespeare from Warwickshire.

The vaccine is being delivered by the National Health Service (NHS), who is contacting the most vulnerable people for the first doses. The top priority for vaccination this year​ will be residents in care homes for older adults and their carers; and people aged 80+ and frontline health and social care workers.

Patients aged 80+ who are already attending hospital as an outpatient – or those who are being discharged home after a hospital stay – are among those first to receive the vaccine. This is because the first doses of the vaccine are being delivered to 50 hospital hubs across the country; in set packs of 975 doses.

Any appointments not used for the above groups will be given to healthcare workers.

While the first vaccination was delivered in Coventy, it is not the only hospital to start delivering the jab this morning: with hospital trusts around the country celebrating their first vaccinations.

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