Margaret Keenan, 90, and William Shakespeare, 81, 1st in Line for COVID-19 Vaccine
Margaret Keenan, 90, and William Shakespeare, 81, receive first vaccines for coronavirus as Britain dispenses injections.
The world's first mass vaccination for the coronavirus is underway in Britain, with 90-year-old Margaret Keenan and 81-year-old William Shakespeare first in line.
The National Health Service launched its widespread campaign Tuesday after the Pfizer COVID-19 injection passed its clinical trial.
Staff applauded as Keenan was wheeled down a hallway at her local hospital in Coventry to get a jab, as it's called across the pond, from May Parsons.
The second person to be vaccinated was William Shakespeare, whose name prompted a piling on of puns from the British press. The Metro tweeted a photo of him with the caption “The Taming of the Flu.”
Social media followed suit with a poster quizzing if Keenan was patient 1A, then was Shakespeare “Patient 2B or not 2B?” Another wrote, “The Two Gentlemen of Corona.”
“It could make a difference to our lives from now on," Shakespeare said after receiving his shot.
Keenan, who only retired four years ago as jewelry shop worker, told reporters, "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 said.
"I’m feeling quite emotional, actually, watching those pictures,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News, which broadcast live video of Keenan being vaccinated. “It’s been such a tough year for so many people, and finally we have our way through it, our light at the end of the tunnel.”
Health officials had dubbed Tuesday "V-Day" in Britain.
“I feel so privileged to be the first person vaccinated against COVID-19 ... 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,” said Keenan, who has four grandchildren.
Her inoculation comes after approval of a vaccine developed jointly by Pfizer and German biotechnology company BioNTech.
The move was touted by British health officials as a turning point in battling the pandemic that has killed more than 1.5 million around the world and resulted in nearly 68 million cases.
The U.S. may issue an emergency authorization for the Pfizer vaccine by week's end.
Britain's campaign will be administered at 50 hospital hubs throughout the country. The first recipients will be patients over 80 who are either outpatients or being discharged after a hospital stay.
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