‘Please do have the jab,’ says woman who received world’s first Covid vaccine

‘Please Do Have The Jab,’ Says Woman Who Received World’s First Covid Vaccine
Margaret Keenan as she became the first person in the UK to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at University Hospital, Coventry, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Helen William, PA

The woman who received the world’s first Covid vaccine outside trial conditions has urged other people to get vaccinated.

Margaret Keenan, originally from Fermanagh, was given the dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine at Coventry’s University Hospital in the UK on December 8th 2020.

The 91-year-old told BBC Breakfast: “Whatever you thought before, please do have the jab.

“There is nothing to it. Don’t be afraid of a needle. It is just to save your life and to save other lives.”

Margaret Keenan is applauded by staff as she returns to her ward after receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine (Jacob King/PA)

She added that it “did feel very important to have it done” and she had hoped at the time that it would get “the ball rolling” in kickstarting the vaccination programme.

Mrs Keenan said she had wanted to do it not just for herself but for “everybody and the NHS”.


Six months on from that first jab, more than 40 million people in the UK, or three-quarters of the adult population, have joined her in receiving a first dose of a vaccine.

Mrs Keenan received a second dose on December 29th, becoming one of what are now nearly 28 million people in the UK – more than half the adult population – to be fully vaccinated against coronavirus.

Matron May Parsons, who administered the jab, said it was “an absolute privilege” to have given Mrs Keenan her first jab and they have since built a friendship.

Margaret Keenan with nurse May Parsons (Jacob King/PA)

She spoke of her pride in her work and of the vaccination programme, saying “our NHS is like a gem and we need to look after it, it is something we should be proud of”.

Ms Parsons added that it is important to look after the staff who have been involved in delivering services during the pandemic.

She told the programme: “I am really passionate about making sure that the staff are looked after, not just because they are doing the job but because they are also humans. They have suffered through Covid in 18 months.

“Everyone stayed at home but we were here and we carried on and were still doing the job as best as we could.


“There was no let-up for us.”

She added: “The success of the vaccination is testament to what everyone can achieve if they put their minds together.

“I do not have any worries about the booster programme because we have already done it. We have done the first one and been successful in the rollout.”

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