A British grandmother who became the first person in the world to get an approved Covid vaccine in December has encouraged everyone to get their second dose.
Maggie Keenan, 91, from Coventry, praised ‘incredible’ staff for the UK’s successful vaccine drive while speaking to NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens in a Zoom call.
The grandmother-of-four made history when she received the first Pfizer jab outside of a clinical trial at University Hospital, Coventry on December 8.
Ms Keenan, a former jewellery shop owner who only retired four years ago, is now fully vaccinated after getting her second jab at the end of December and says she is looking forward to ‘a little holiday’.
And she urged all people called for their second vaccines to book appointments as soon as possible.
More than 10million people in the UK are now fully protected from Covid after having their second jab, with case numbers and deaths falling by the day as a result. Scientists believe some 10,000 lives have already been saved by the vaccination programme.
And asked what people feeling hesitant should do, Ms Keenan said: ‘I’m telling everyone to go and get it because it really is the best thing I’ve ever done.
‘The best thing I ever did. I hope everyone comes forward. There’s nothing to it, you don’t even feel anything.
‘I just feel really honoured to have had it done, to have been the first and to have got the ball rolling.’
Maggie Keenan, 91, from Coventry, has encouraged everyone to get their second dose after making history by becoming the first person in the world to receive a Covid vaccine
Ms Keenan, who has lived in Coventry for more than 60 years but is originally from Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, spoke on the Zoom earlier this week, where she was reunited with matron May Parsons.
The matron for respiratory medicine at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, administered Ms Keenan’s first jab.
She spoke of her pride at delivering the vaccine and how well the roll-out has gone on since.
Ms Parsons said: ‘Vaccinating Maggie was a little spark of light the midst of the darkness, and now I feel like the dawn is coming.
‘It’s almost unbelievable that we’ve managed to roll out the vaccine so successfully.’
UK’s decision to stop under-30s getting AstraZeneca Covid vaccine did NOT put people off vaccination, study finds
The UK deciding not to give AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine to under-30s has not put people off getting vaccinated, a survey has suggested.
Regulators said concerns about extremely rare blood clots being triggered by the jab meant it would be safer to give young adults a different one where possible.
In Europe clotting fears spooked some people into turning down the jab or asking for different ones. Denmark refused to use the vaccine at all.
But the University of Stirling in Scotland did a survey that found almost nine out of 10 people in their 30s – close in age to those affected but old enough to still be given the AstraZeneca jab – are still happy to get a vaccine.
The survey of 300 people did not ask specifically about the AstraZeneca vaccine but about jabs in general, and found no increase in hesitancy.
Among 30 to 40-year-olds, 85 per cent said they were still planning to get jabbed. This was a slight dip from 87 per cent in the previous survey but the proportion saying they would refuse a jab also fell, from 9.9 to 9.8 per cent.
Brits put a lot of trust in vaccines compared to people in Europe and a fast rollout and high uptake mean the UK is now one of the best protected countries worldwide.
Ms Parsons, who has worked for the NHS for almost 20 years since moving from the Philippines, added: ‘I’m really grateful to all my colleagues for the bravery and courage that they’ve shown throughout this pandemic, which has helped us care for our people and care for our patients like Maggie.’
Britain’s vaccine drive is one of the most successful in the world, with around 60 per cent of all adults in the UK protected with at least one jab, compared to just 14 per cent in the EU.
Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, said: ‘We’re seeing patients coming forward in record numbers for their Oxford-AstraZeneca second doses.
‘People are voting with their feet, showing continuing strong public support for the NHS Covid vaccination campaign which has already saved over 10,000 lives.’
Speaking after her first dose in December last year, Ms Keenan urged everyone to get a jab so they can get back to ‘some sort of normality’.
She said: ‘Yesterday was a massive day for me personally and for the rest of the world as we all look to get back to some sort of normality.
‘It has all been such a whirlwind and everything hasn’t really sunk in yet. I feel great and I’m so pleased to be able to go home and to spend some quality time with my family.
‘I would like to say thank you to the hospital and its staff for the care and support shown to me during my stay — they have been truly amazing.
‘My family and I are so grateful for the positive comments and well wishes received. I would urge everybody to get their vaccine as and when they are asked to do so.’
The national vaccination drive was launched at 70 UK hospitals, with most doses given to the over-80s.
Day one saw around 5,000 people vaccinated, including the elderly, care home staff and NHS workers.
Mrs Keenan was one of about 100 people vaccinated on the first day of the rollout at Coventry.