- Britain has officially begun its COVID-19 vaccination program, after administering the newly approved Pfizer vaccine to a civilian
- Margaret Keenan, a 90-year old grandmother from Coventry, was the first person to receive the vaccination outside of clinical trials
- She will need to receive a second vaccine injection in three weeks’ time, in order to gain full immunity
- The UK has ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine, with roughly 800,000 to be administered in the days ahead
- Despite Britain’s high COVID-19 death toll, the vaccine will not be compulsory there once it is readily available
Britain has officially begun its COVID-19 vaccination program, after administering the newly approved Pfizer vaccine to a civilian.
The United Kingdom approved the vaccine developed by Pfizer for mass distribution quite recently. In doing so, Britain became the first Western nation to approve a vaccine against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The very first patient to receive an injection of the vaccine outside of clinical trials was Margaret Keenan, a 90-year old grandmother from central England. The vaccine was administered through an injection to Margaret’s shoulder, at her local hospital in Coventry.
Margaret will need to receive a follow-up injection in approximately three weeks’ time, in order to complete the vaccination process. She commented on the milestone moment of receiving the vaccine, and what it means for her moving forward.
“I feel so privileged to be the first person vaccinated against COVID-19,” she 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,” she added.
The UK has ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine. Since each person will need two doses of the drug in order to gain immunity, this initial order should be enough for roughly a third of the country’s population.
In the days ahead, roughly 800,000 doses of the vaccine will be administered across 70 hospitals. The world is sure to be watching as the vaccine is distributed to the general public for the first time, especially considering the drug’s complicated storage requirements.
Unlike vaccines developed by rival pharmaceutical companies, the Pfizer vaccine must be shipped and stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius or below. Once thawed, the vial can be kept for up to five days in a refrigerator.
Thus far the UK has reported over 60,000 COVID-19 deaths, currently the highest COVID-related death toll in Europe. Despite the high number of fatalities, the vaccine will not be compulsory in Britain once it is readily available.