90-Year-Old Grandma Becomes First Person to Get COVID-19 Vaccine

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Margaret Keenan, a 90-year-old grandmother and retired shop clerk from Northern Ireland, became the first person in the world to receive the COVID-19 vaccine outside of a trial. The vaccine was developed by Pfizer and German company BioNTech. 

Keenan received her first of two doses of the vaccine at University Hospital Coventry in the U.K. on Tuesday, on the heels of British regulators approving the vaccine last week. While the country has ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine, only 800,000 shots “will be available as part of the first wave” that began on Tuesday, according to CNN. There will “eventually” be enough doses in the U.K. to “vaccinate roughly a third of the country's population.” 

Of her being the first person to get the vaccine, Keenan told the Associated Press: “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.”

Upon leaving the hospital, Keenan told reporters that everyone should “go for it."

“It’s free and it’s the best thing that has ever happened,” she said. “If I can do it, well, so can you."

In a related bit of news, after Keenan received the dose, she was followed by none other than William Shakespeare. The 81-year-old from Warwickshire — who goes by Bill — was the second person to get a dose of the vaccine at the U.K. hospital on Tuesday.

In response to those like Keenan and Shakespeare having lined up to get vaccinated, Britain’s health secretary, Matt Hancock, reportedly “appeared to shed some tears” as per The New York Times.

The U.K. has had more than 1.7 million cases of coronavirus this year and more than 60,000 deaths.

Tags: Navigating the Pandemic, Overcoming Adversity

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Written By

Rose Low

Rose Low is a writer based in New York, with a background in social media strategy and reporting. She has a Masters from NYU and a love for romantic comedies. See Full Bio

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