Europe

COVID-19: Margaret Keenan, first patient to get Pfizer vaccine, receives second jab

Margaret Keenan, who became the world’s first patient to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine outside a clinical trial, has received her second jab.

The 91-year-old grandmother was given the booster injection at Coventry’s University Hospital on Tuesday, three weeks after making history with the first one on 8 December.

Some 616,933 people in the UK had the coronavirus jab between that day and 20 December, according to the most recent Department of Health figures published last week.

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Christmas Eve that almost 800,000 people had been given their first dose of the two-stage vaccine.

The initial jabs were given in hospitals, but the rollout has since widened to GP-led sites and care homes.

The successful delivery of the first full treatment of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine comes as COVID-19 cases are soaring across the UK, with more infections recorded this Monday than at any other time during the pandemic.

Mrs Keenan, a grandmother of four, declared it was “a privilege” when she received her first dose and described it as “the best early birthday present I could wish for” as it meant she could spend time with her family and friends “after being on my own” for most of 2020.

It comes as ministers have been warned that the UK must double its vaccination target to two million a week in order to avoid a third wave of the coronavirus, with England’s hospitals treating more patients than during the peak of the first wave and the UK recording its highest ever daily increase in COVID cases, with 41,385.

The government hopes the imminent expected approval of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine will allow the expansion of the vaccination programme, which is currently based only on the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

The European Union has launched its vaccination programme and aims for all adults in the bloc to be inoculated by the end of 2021.

However some areas in Germany have experienced delays due to issues with transporting the vaccine at sufficiently cold temperatures.

The US has approved both the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and the Moderna one for emergency use during the pandemic.

A few days before Christmas, president-elect Joe Biden, 78, received a dose of the Pfizer vaccine on live television as part of a growing effort to convince the American public that inoculations are safe.

Professor Andy Hardy, the chief executive of University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust where Ms Keenan received her injection, said: “We were delighted to welcome Margaret Keenan back to Coventry’s University Hospital today to safely receive the second dose of the vaccination, after she became the first person in the world to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 following its clinical approval.

“Our hardworking staff who have been involved in the vaccination programme have remained in contact with Margaret’s family since that day and we are delighted that Margaret has been continuing to recover well at home following her discharge from hospital.

“It’s important that everyone comes forward to get the jab when they are invited to do so and, like other hospitals and GP surgeries across the country, we’ll be following the latest expert advice and evidence to invite people to get vaccinated at the time they need it.”

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