V-Day has arrived! First patient gets Covid vaccine – but York will have to wait

Margaret Keenan, 90, is the first UK patient to receive the Pfizer/BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine at University Hospital, Coventry, administered by nurse May Parsons. Photograph: Jacob King / PA Wire
8 Dec 2020 @ 7.58 am
| Health

A grandmother has become the first person in the world to receive Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine as the NHS embarks on a mass vaccination programme.

Margaret Keenan, 90, received the jab at 6.31am in Coventry today (Tuesday), marking the start of a phased rollout of the vaccine to older people, NHS staff and care home workers.

But York will have to be patient. The city is not one of those chosen to be part of the first wave of vaccinations.

A list of the 50 hospital hubs in England where Covid-19 vaccines will be administered in the first wave has been released, but the nearest is the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

Nevertheless, York is gearing up to take part in the largest immunisation programme in British history.

The former Askham Bar Park & Ride site, already used for flu vaccinations, is being prepared for dispensing the Covid vaccine.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said people over 80 – the first target group for the vaccinations – should not expect to be contacted imminently.

The site earmarked for mass Covid-19 vaccination. Photograph: David Dunning

He said that the vast majority of people will not be vaccinated until early 2021.

He anticipates that there will be communications in the coming weeks telling people how quickly they are getting through those who are over 80.

“Hospitals, and then GPs and pharmacists as more vaccine becomes available, are going to be vaccinating at least until next spring.

“So in the meantime, we’re going to have to continue to be very careful. But if we do that I think there’s every chance that we will look back on tomorrow as marking a decisive turning point in the battle against coronavirus.”

Chief executive of NHS England Sir Simon Stevens said: “Hospitals, and then GPs and pharmacists as more vaccine becomes available, are going to be vaccinating at least until next spring.

“So in the meantime, we’re going to have to continue to be very careful. But if we do that I think there’s every chance that we will look back on tomorrow as marking a decisive turning point in the battle against coronavirus.”