THE FIRST patient to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus jab has today received the second dose of the vaccine.
Margaret Keenan made history when she became the first Brit to receive the long-awaited jab at her local hospital in Coventry, West Mids.
The retired jewellery assistant, 91, originally from Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, was given the first shot on television at 6:31a.m. on December 8.
Today she received the second dosage and now has the best chance of being protected from the virus.
Professor Andy Hardy, Chief Executive of University Hospitals Coventry said the trust was “delighted” to welcome Margaret back for her second jab.
He said: “Our hardworking staff who have been involved in the vaccination programme have remained in contact with Margaret’s family since that day and we are delighted that Margaret has been continuing to recover well at home following her discharge from hospital.
“It’s important that everyone comes forward to get the jab when they are invited to do so and, like other hospitals and GP surgeries across the country, we’ll be following the latest expert advice and evidence to invite people to get vaccinated at the time they need it.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweeted: “Fantastic to see Margaret Keenan receive her second dose of the @Pfizer/@BioNTech_Group #coronavirus vaccine.
“We will get through this pandemic, together.”
On receiving her first dose, Margaret said felt extremely “privileged to be the first person vaccinated against Covid-19.”
She said: “Hopefully it’ll help other people come along and do what I did, and try and do the best to get rid of this terrible thing.”
She added that people should “go for the vaccine because it’s free and the best thing that’s ever happened.”
As a hospital in-patient, she was first in line for the jab due to her age when the vaccine roll-out programme began on December 8.
It’s first being administered to people over 80, who are either hospitalised or have outpatient appointments scheduled, along with nursing home workers.
WHY TWO JABS?
Margaret was invited back for her second jab after three weeks – so that she can have as much protection against the virus as possible.
Patients need two doses 21 days apart for protection against Covid-19, meaning not enough shots have yet been secured for the entire UK population.
People will be protected from the virus seven days after their second dose.
It’s not clear how long immunisation lasts, with the possibility of booster jabs needed. This will be studied over time.
The Pfizer/BioNTech jab is an mRNA vaccine, which makes it easier to produce on a mass scale.
However, it needs to be stored at -70C, way below a typical vaccine which only needs to be stored in a fridge, making it challenging to transported.
Margaret’s second dose today comes as the country patiently awaits new from the Oxford/AstraZeneca team on its vaccine.
The UK’s Vaccines Minister told The Sun on Sunday the massive effort had been heroic and displayed “the best of British at every stage”.
Nadhim Zahawi said: “From day one of the pandemic, people from across the nation have been working day and night to find a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine.
“We have seen the best of British at every stage, from our world-leading scientists working around the clock to carry out vital research, to builders and engineers constructing new facilities.
“Manufacturers are boosting their capabilities and hundreds of thousands of people in every corner of the UK are taking part in clinical trials — developing, finding and preparing for a vaccine has involved us all.
“It has and continues to be a truly UK-wide effort and one which showcases what a fantastic nation we are.”
The first injections are expected to be rolled out a week after the new drug gets the go-ahead.
The most recent figures published by the Department of Health last week showed that the number of people to have had their first jab between 8 December and 20 December in the UK was 616,933.
But speaking on Christmas Eve, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said almost 800,000 people had been given their first dose of the two-stage vaccine.
Since the initial jabs were given in hospitals, the rollout has widened to GP-led sites and care homes.
A Welsh Government spokesman said people in Wales would begin receiving their second dose of the vaccine from January 5.