Margaret Keenan was given the vaccine by May Parsons, a matron at University Hospital in Coventry
A 90-year-old woman has become the first person to be given a Covid jab as part of the mass vaccination programme being rolled out across the UK.
Margaret Keenan, who turns 91 next week, said it was the “best early birthday present”.
She was given the injection at 06:31 GMT – the first of 800,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine that will be given in the coming weeks.
Up to four million more are expected by the end of the month.
Hubs in the UK will vaccinate over-80s and some health and care staff – the programme aims to protect the most vulnerable and return life to normal.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who has dubbed Tuesday V-day, said he was thrilled to see the first vaccinations take place but urged people to keep their resolve and stick to the rules for the next few months.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, on a visit to a London hospital to see some of the first people getting the jab, said getting vaccinated was “good for you and good for the whole country”.
“I feel so privileged to be the first person vaccinated against Covid-19,” Ms Keenan, who is originally from Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, said.
“It’s 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.
“My advice to anyone offered the vaccine is to take it. If I can have it at 90, then you can have it too,” she added.
The second person vaccinated in Coventry was William Shakespeare, 81, from Warwickshire, who said he was “pleased” to be given the jab and hospital staff had been “wonderful”.
Second in line for the jab at University Hospital in Coventry was 81-year-old William Shakespeare from Warwickshire
Throughout the morning, patients and health workers at some 50 hospitals around the UK, have been getting the jab:
Sister Joanna Sloan, who will head up the vaccine rollout in Belfast, received the first vaccine administered in Northern Ireland, just after 08:00 GMT at the Royal Victoria Hospital
In Wales, a nervous Craig Atkins, 48, from Ebbw Vale, became the first person to get the jab. It was “scary” but he could smile now, he said
Consultant anaesthetist Dr Katie Stewart was among the first people on Scotland to get the jab, saying there was something to celebrate after “a very long hard year” looking after Covid patients and staying apart to protect each other
The UK is the first country in the world to start using the Pfizer vaccine after regulators approved its use last week.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock told BBC Breakfast there was a “long march ahead of us but this marks the way out”.
Matt Hancock says he is thrilled but warns that people must still stick to the rules
While pleased to see the first jabs being given, he said the “virus is deadly” and “we’ve got to stick by the rules”.
More than 60,000 people in the UK have died within 28 day sof a Covid-19 test, but there are signs the UK could be at the peak of the pandemic’s second wave.
New data released by national statisticians for the week ending 27 November showed that of the 14,106 deaths registered, nearly 3,400 involved Covid.
This is 20% higher than the five-year average but is similar to the percentages seen in the past two weeks.
81-year-old Lyn Wheeler tells the prime minister she’s doing it for Britain
On a visit to London’s Guy’s Hospital, Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to 81-year-old Lyn Wheeler, who was the first to receive the vaccine there.
“It is really very moving to hear her say she is doing it for Britain, which is exactly right – she is protecting herself but also helping to protect the entire country,” Mr Johnson said.
Earlier, the prime minister thanked the NHS and “all of the scientists who worked so hard to develop this vaccine”, the volunteers and “everyone who has been following the rules to protect others”.
Some 800,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine have been secured by the government to be administered in the coming weeks – although vaccination is not compulsory.
Orders have been placed for 40 million in total – enough for 20 million people, as two courses are needed.
However, most of that is not expected to become available until next year, although government sources said another four million doses should arrive in the country by the end of this month.
Mr Hancock said he expected it to take “several weeks” to get the first group of health workers, care staff and over-80s vaccinated.
Vaccine taskforce chairwoman Kate Bingham struck a positive note, telling the BBC her “gut feeling” was that “we will all be going on summer holidays”.
It was likely people most at risk would be vaccinated by April, she said, and then the authorities would consider how to broaden out the vaccinations to other adults.
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