'Please DO have the jab,' says first woman in world to get vaccine

‘Please DO have the jab’: Margaret Keenan – the 91-year-old grandmother who was the first person in the world to get approved Covid vaccine – begs nation to book appointments to ‘save lives’

  • Margaret Keenan got her first dose when the roll-out began on December 8
  • Since then, almost 43million Britons have had their first dose of the vaccine
  • But millions of adults are still yet to book their appointment to get the jab

The 91-year-old grandmother who became the first person in the world to get an approved Covid vaccine has today begged other people to come forward for their jabs. 

Margaret Keenan was given her first dose of Pfizer at Coventry’s University Hospital when the UK’s roll-out began on December 8, 2020.

Since then, almost 43million other Britons have had a jab — but millions of adults are still yet to book their appointment.

Calling on the nation to take up the offer, Ms Keenan 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 was given her first dose of Pfizer at Coventry’s University Hospital when the UK’s roll-out began on December 8, 2020

December 8: Roll-out begins for care home residents, their carers, over-80s and frontline NHS workers 

January 18: Over-70s and clinically extremely vulnerable adults 

February 15: Over-65s and over-16s with underlying health conditions

March 1: Over-60s 

March 6: Over-56s 

March 17: Over-50s

April 13: Over-45s

April 26: Over-44s

April 27: Over-42s

April 30: Over-40s

May 13: Over-38s 

May 18: Over-36s

May 20: Over-34s 

May 22: Over-32s

May 26: Over-30s

June 8: Over-25s

June 15: Over-23s

June 16: Over-21s

June 18: All over-18s 

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, who has lived in Coventry for more than 60 years but is originally from Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, 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 43million people in the UK, or 81.6 per cent of the adult population, had joined her in receiving a first dose of vaccine.

Mrs Keenan received a second dose on December 29, becoming one of what are now nearly 31.3million 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.

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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