Margaret Keenan said she felt ‘privileged’ to receive the Pfizer vaccine after she became the first patient in the world to have it.
Mrs Keenan from Coventry received the jab today following clinical approval, as the NHS’ largest vaccine campaign starts today.
The Health Secretary says he felt ’emotional’ after seeing the image of Mrs Keenan being vaccinated.
For much of the year, like many of her peers, Mrs Keenan has been self-isolating and was planning on having a very small family ‘bubble’ Christmas. She’s set to receive the booster jab in 21 days.
Mrs Keenan, who is from Coventry and will be 91 next week, said: “I feel so privileged to be the first person vaccinated against Covid-19, 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.”
Known to friends as Maggie, she received the vaccine at 6:31am from nurse May Parsons at her local hospital in Coventry.
She added: “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.”
Today has been dubbed ‘V-Day’ by Matt Hancock as hospital hubs across the country begin administrating the vaccine.
Speaking to Sky News, Hancock said: “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.”
Scotland First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon also appeared emotional following the news, tweeting: “Feels like such a milestone moment after a tough year for everyone. The first vaccines in Scotland will be administered today too.”
NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens has praised all those delivering the new vaccine. He said: “Less than a year after the first case of this new disease was diagnosed, the NHS has now delivered the first clinically approved Covid-19 vaccination – that is a remarkable achievement,
“A heartfelt thank you goes to everyone who has made this a reality – the scientists and doctors who worked tirelessly, and the volunteers who selflessly took part in the trials.
“They have achieved in months what normally takes years. My colleagues across the health service are rightly proud of this historic moment as we lead in deploying the PfizerBioNTech vaccine. I also want to thank Margaret, our first patient to receive the vaccine on the NHS.
“Today is just the first step in the largest vaccination programme this country has ever seen.
“It will take some months to complete the work as more vaccine supplies become available and until then we must not drop our guard.
“But if we all stay vigilant in the weeks and months ahead, we will be able to look back at this as a decisive turning point in the battle against the virus.”
Mrs Parsons said it was a huge honour to be the first in the country to deliver the vaccine, she said: “It’s a huge honour to be the first person in the country to deliver a Covid-19 jab to a patient, I’m just glad that I’m able to play a part in this historic day.
“The last few months have been tough for all of us working in the NHS, but now it feels like there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
Mrs Keenan, originally from Northern Ireland received support from the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, when he tweeted: “Fantastic to see Enniskillen woman, Margaret, receive the first vaccine this morning!
“The rollout starts today in Northern Ireland and across the rest of the country – supplied by the U.K. Government & administered by our brilliant NHS. VDay”
The vaccine will see a phased rollout with patients over 80 and already in hospital as an outpatient, and those who are being discharged at home among the first to receive the jab.
50 hubs have been set up in the first wave of delivering the jab, in the wider North West they include: Blackpool Teaching Hospital, Countess of Chester Hospital, Lancashire Teaching Hospital, Liverpool University Hospital, North Cumbria Integrated Care and Wirral University Teach Hospital.
In Greater Manchester, Salford Royal and Stockport will be delivering the vaccine.
The vaccine contains a part of the genetic code, ‘RNA’, of Covid-19. Once injected in the body, the immune system produces antibodies that match the protein like a lock and key. If the patient then gets Covid-19, the body already knows how to respond and the antibodies are automatically triggered to fight the virus.
The UK has 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, enough for 20 million people.
Police seize over £3m worth of counterfeit goods in Cheetham Hill raids
GMP are stamping down on ‘the illegal distribution of counterfeit items’, and ‘the supply of illicit prescription drugs’
Police have seized over £3m worth of counterfeit goods in a series of Cheetham Hill raids conducted as part of their ‘crackdown’ on counterfeit fraud.
According to a statement issued by Greater Manchester Police last night, Officers from City of London, North West Regional and Organised Crime Unit (NWROCU), Border Force, Immigration and local officers yesterday executed their tenth raid on Lockett Street and Bury New Road.
There, £1million’s worth of goods including clothing, accessories, bags, perfume and jewellery were found and seized. This added to the other £2m worth of goods found across the last week.
Six men, all aged between thirty-six and sixty-one, have all been arrested and released under investigation pending further enquiries, according to the force.
The raids come as part of GMP’s Operation’s ‘Magpie’ and ‘Cranium’, which aims to tackle ‘the illegal distribution of counterfeit items’, and tackle ‘the supply of illicit prescription drugs’.
Inspector William Jennings-Wharton from the Cheetham Neighbourhood team said in a statement: “This is all part of our continued work to tackle organised crime taking place in Cheetham Hill and I want to reassure the local community that we are listening to their concerns and this week’s action is all part of our continued crackdown.
“Counterfeit goods and drug dealing will not be tolerated and all of these raids are a huge step in really driving a wedge in organised crime in the area.
“Counterfeit goods are not a victimless crime – though these desired items may look good and are cheap, they are funding a wider picture that involves money laundering, organised crime and cheap labour.
“The profits from such businesses can be used to fund other serious crime, and often with that comes violence which can have a devastating ripple effect on communities and nearby legitimate businesses.”
A spokesperson for Manchester City Council added: “Counterfeit crime runs far deeper than just the sale of knock-off coats and handbags [as] there are deep links to other criminal enterprises and the sale of fake goods only puts money in the hands of criminals.
“We remain committed to tackling this practice at the source and will continue to work with our partners in the police to secure prosecution against perpetrators… And get fake goods off our streets.”
Anyone with information has been encouraged to report it online or by using the LiveChat facility at www.gmp.police.uk or by calling 101. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
This is why some supermarkets are refusing to enforce the new face mask rules
Supermarket bosses have spoken out
A number of supermarkets have addressed the reason they won’t be enforcing the new face mask rules that are now mandatory across the country.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the return of face masks and self-isolation over the weekend in a bid to tackle the new Omicron variant, which is believed to be ‘more transmissible and have more mutations which could weaken the effect of vaccines and natural immunity.’
However, despite the mandate being backed by the government, a number of supermarket bosses announced that they would not be enforcing masks upon their customers.
Iceland was the first supermarket to announce its stance on the matter, with the chain’s managing director Richard Walker saying he wouldn’t be asking staff to enforce the new restrictions as they focus on the ‘long-term recovery of the high street.’
Walker told The Daily Mail: “We fully support the reintroduction of compulsory face masks in shops, however, we won’t be asking our store colleagues to police it.
“Our store teams, alongside all retail workers, have shown heroic efforts in terms of ensuring safety for customers and building back consumer confidence and it’s crucial that we stay focused on the long-term recovery of the high street.”
Supermarket giant Co-op has also said that they would not be enforcing face coverings in their stores – nor would they refuse to serve a customer without one.
The British Retail Consortium has said it’s down to the police to enforce the measure, saying, as per The Sun: “Customers are asked to respect the rules and be considerate to their fellow shoppers and to hard-working shop staff.”
Since then, Tesco, Aldi and Lidl have all echoed this stance, with each saying they have no plans to challenge customers over the wearing of a face covering in store.
Alternatively, Asda and Morrisons have announced that they will be regularly enforcing the use of face masks while also handing out free masks to those who don’t have them, while Sainsbury’s said it will have ‘greeters and security guards at the front of our supermarkets’ to remind people to wear masks.
A statement from the Government on the rule change read: “From 4am Tuesday November 30th, face coverings will be compulsory in shops and other settings such as banks, post offices and hairdressers, as well as on public transport unless individuals are exempt from doing so.”
All hospitality is exempt from the rule change.
Boris Johnson reveals plan to offer all adults booster jabs by the end of January
NEWS JUST IN
The government plans on offering all adults booster vaccines by the end of January, Boris Johnson has revealed today.
The Prime Minister spoke at a Downing Street conference this afternoon where he announced the planned booster rollout will take place across 1,500 pharmacy sites across England in age order.
Over 400 military personnel will help with the rollout, Johnson added.
Noting that it’s ‘time for another Great British vaccination effort’, Johnson said: “The target we’ve set ourselves is to offer a booster to everyone eligible by the end of January.
“As with the first jabs, we’ll be working through people by age group going down in five year bands, because it’s vital that the older and more clinically vulnerable get that added protection first.”
The Prime Minister stressed that even those who had their second jab over three months ago should wait until the NHS contacts them about a booster appointment.
This announcement comes as face masks are made compulsory once again in all shops and on public transport.
The government made the decision as part of its response to the new Omicron variant, which is said to be ‘more transmissible and have more mutations which could weaken the effect of vaccines and natural immunity.’
The change in rules was announced by the Prime Minister after cases of the new variant were detected at several locations across the UK.
The Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed yesterday that all adults will be offered a COVID-19 booster vaccine as part of a reaching expansion of the jabs programme to deal with the potential impact of the new variant.