UK Rolls Out Its Vaccine

90-year-old grandmother is the first recipient
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2020 6:37 AM CST
90-Year-Old Grandmother Gets First UK Vaccine
Margaret Keenan receives the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, administered by nurse May Parsons at University Hospital, Coventry, England, on Tuesday.   (Jacob King/Pool via AP)

Margaret Keenan turns 91 next week but already has her gift from the UK government. Keenan was the first person to receive a vaccine dose Tuesday as part of the UK's mass vaccination program, which will be rolling out 800,000 doses of Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine at some 70 hospitals over the next several weeks. "I feel so privileged to be the first," said the 90-year-old grandmother, who was vaccinated at University Hospital, Coventry at 6:31am local time, per the BBC. She said it was 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." She urged anyone offered the vaccine to take it. "If I can have it at 90, then you can have it, too," she said.

Health and care staff and people over 80 are receiving the first doses, to be followed by a second dose after three weeks. The UK has ordered 40 million doses, or enough to vaccinate about a third of the population, per CNN. But only 4 million are to be delivered by the end of the year. Vaccine taskforce chairwoman Kate Bingham said it was likely that the most vulnerable people would be vaccinated by April. "We will all be going on summer holidays," she added, per the BBC. Meanwhile, Health Secretary Matt Hancock urged people to abide by COVID-19 restrictions until the virus is under control. Prime Minister Boris Johnson echoed that while observing vaccinations at a London hospital. "It's amazing to see this tremendous shot in the arm for the entire nation, but we can't afford to relax now," he said. (Read more coronavirus vaccine stories.)

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