UK - Vaccination

90-year-old granny gets first Covid shot as UK launches vaccination drive

Margaret Keenan, 90, became the first person to get the newly approved coronavirus vaccine as Britain began its inoculation drive.
Margaret Keenan, 90, became the first person to get the newly approved coronavirus vaccine as Britain began its inoculation drive. Jacob King POOL/AFP

Britain has hailed a turning point in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, as it began the biggest vaccination programme in the country's history against Covid-19. 

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A 90-year-old grandmother became the first person to receive the Covid-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer-BioNTech.

The historic inoculation was administered to Margaret Keenan in the central English city of Coventry.

Britain's second jab reportedly went to a man named William Shakespeare.

Over-80s, care home workers, and at-risk health and social care staff are at the front of the line for the injections.

The UK aims to vaccinated four million by the end of the month.

'Privileged' to be the first in line

Margaret Keenan said she felt "privileged" to be given the injection, the first of millions expected to be administered over the coming months in one of the world's worst-hit countries.

Britain's start to its vaccination programme came as the virus situation around the world continued to darken, with more than 30 million people in California placed under stay-at-home orders to fight a deepening US crisis.

Even as nations gear up for mass inoculation programmes, worldwide coronavirus infections have surged past 67 million, with more than 1.5 million deaths, and some parts of the world battling worrying spikes in cases.

'Turning point'

Britain has welcomed the Pfizer-BioNTech jab as a turning point in the fight against the pandemic, and on what has been dubbed "V-Day", people rolled up their sleeves for an initial dose from early Tuesday morning.

The British public has been broadly supportive of the rapid approval of the vaccine, but ministers and health professionals are aware they still need to combat mistrust.

"My advice to anyone offered the vaccine is to take it," said Keenan. "If I can have it at 90 then you can have it too."

It has been reported that 94-year-old Queen Elizabeth II, who will qualify for the vaccine because of her age, could front an awareness campaign urging compliance.

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