A grandmother who became the first person in the world to have the Pfizer vaccine has been discharged from hospital after a ‘whirlwind’ day.
Margaret Keenan, 90, made global headlines after she was given the coronavirus jab at University Hospital Coventry at 6.31am on Tuesday.
She was seen smiling and holding hands with her grandson Conor and daughter Sue as she left the hospital on Wednesday afternoon.
The retired jewellery store assistant had been admitted a few days early and said she felt ‘great’ upon being discharged.
In a statement released through NHS England, Mrs Keenan said: ‘Yesterday was a massive day for me personally and for the rest of the world as we all look to get back to some sort of normality.
‘It has all been such a whirlwind and everything hasn’t really sunk in yet. I feel great and I’m so pleased to be able to go home and to spend some quality time with my family.
‘I would like to say thank you to the hospital and its staff for the care and support shown to me during my stay – they have been truly amazing.
‘My family and I are so grateful for the positive comments and well wishes received.
‘I would urge everybody to get their vaccine as and when they are asked to do so.’
The UK is the first western country to start immunising its population in what has been hailed as a turning point in the battle against coronavirus.
Mrs Keenan, who marks her 91st birthday next week, received the first of 800,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine that will be dispensed in the coming weeks.
Speaking immediately after receiving the vaccine, administered by matron May Parsons, Mrs Keenan told of the ‘great opportunity’ of being offered the jab.
She said: ‘I can’t thank May and the NHS staff enough who have looked after me tremendously, and my advice to anyone offered the vaccine is to take it – if I can have it at 90, then you can have it too.’
Vaccinations began being administered at 70 hospital hubs across the UK on Tuesday – dubbed ‘V-Day’ by Health Secretary Matt Hancock – starting with healthcare workers, people living in care homes and the elderly.
Day one saw around 5,000 people vaccinated, including 81-year-old William ‘Bill’ Shakespeare, who is named after the famous playwright, and 91-year-old Martin Kenyon, who went viral after describing his ‘very unexciting’ day to a CNN reporter.
The roll-out continued today, with two grandparents who have racked up 80 years’ service in the NHS between them becoming one of the first couples in the world to be injected.
Mr Hancock appeared to become teary watching footage of the vaccination roll out- though many on social media have accused him of faking it as they ripped into his handling of the pandemic.
He told Good Morning Britain: ‘I’m feeling quite emotional, actually, watching those pictures.
‘It has 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 as so many people are saying
‘And just watching Margaret there – it seems so simple having a jab in your arm, but that will protect Margaret and it will protect the people around her.
‘And if we manage to do that in what is going to be one of the biggest programmes in NHS history, if we manage to do that for everybody who is vulnerable to this disease, then we can move on
The UK has ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer jab, which is enough to vaccinate 20 million people – as two doses need to be administered.
There are 800,000 doses in the first set, meaning 400,000 people will be vaccinated initially. The doses have been stored in undisclosed secure locations to ensure the security of the vaccine.
Around 300 GP hubs are expected to begin administering the jab next week, with hopes it could be taken into care homes within the fortnight.
Mr Hancock said restrictions can be lifted once enough vulnerable people have had the Pfizer/BioNTech jab, but he urged people to ‘stick together and follow the rules’ as the virus continues to run rampant.
He told Sky News: ‘It is no good everybody relaxing now – we’ve got to hold firm until the vaccination programme has reached enough vulnerable people so that we don’t have people dying from coronavirus in the number that we do today.’
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