A milestone was hit in the COVID-19 vaccination campaign this morning, as a 90-year-old became the first person in the world to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine following its clinical approval.
Margaret Keenan received the jab at 6:31am. Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, thanked all those involved in the development of the vaccine, and said:
“Less than a year after the first case of this new disease was diagnosed, the NHS has now delivered the first clinically approved COVID-19 vaccination – that is a remarkable achievement… A heartfelt thank you goes to everyone who has made this a reality – the scientists and doctors who worked tirelessly, and the volunteers who selflessly took part in the trials. They have achieved in months what normally takes years.”
Stevens also emphasised that the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine marks a “decisive turning point” in the fight against the virus, and said:
“Coronavirus is the greatest health challenge in NHS history, taking loved ones from us and disrupting every part of our lives. Hospitals have now cared for more than 190,000 seriously ill COVID-19 patients and have seen beds fill up again in recent weeks. The deployment of this vaccine marks a decisive turning point in the battle with the pandemic. NHS vaccination programmes which have successfully helped overcome tuberculosis, polio, and smallpox, now turn their focus to coronavirus.”
Care home workers and people aged 80 and over will be the first to receive the vaccine this week, as well as NHS workers who are at higher risk.
In other COVID-19 vaccine-related news:
- Canada will receive up to 249,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in December 2020, if Health Canada authorises the vaccine in time
- The Ministry of Health (MoH) in Brazil has invested 59.4 million Brazilian reais into strengthening the National Vaccination Programme (PNI), in preparation for the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine.