A 90-year-old grandmother, Margaret Keenan, who will be celebrating her 91st birthday next week, has become the first to receive the approved COVID-19 vaccine. Amid clapping, smiles and cameras, Keenan received the first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech shot.
“I feel so privileged to be the first person vaccinated against COVID-19,” Keenan told BBC News, “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.”
One week after giving emergency authorization to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, the UK government says they will be able to distribute 800,000 doses of the vaccine in the coming weeks, good for 400,00 people as 2 doses are needed per patient. By the end of the year there should be 4 million doses available in the UK.
The figure is nowhere near the previously hoped for amount of 30 million doses (by the end of year) due to delays in manufacturing and delivery. This is the reason why older people like Keenan were prioritized on the vaccine schedule.
Countries are hoping that if they can protect the most vulnerable in society first, then most activities would slowly return to normal; if rigorous testing continues, and people remain committed to adhering to safety measures.
COVID-19 vaccination strategies and deployment plans will give hope to economies across the world for better times ahead, while elderly people like Keenan can look forward to spending the holidays with their loved ones.