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90-year-old woman gets first Covid-19 vaccine in UK

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The UK on Tuesday became the first country to start administering the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, kicking off its mass vaccination program, which is expected to see 4 million people begin the process by the end of the month.

The first person to receive the vaccine outside of a clinical trial was Margaret Keenan, 90, who was given the first of the two injections she will need at University Hospital, Coventry ahead of her birthday next week.

“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,” said Keenan in a statement.

She will receive her second dose of the vaccine in three weeks, with full immunity expected a week after that. The second person to receive the vaccine was an 81-year-old man named William Shakespeare from Warwickshire (which also happens to be the birthplace of the famous bard with whom he shares a name). Nurse May Parsons, who administered the vaccine to both Keenan and Shakespeare, said it was a “great honor” to play a part in “this historic day.”

Last week, the UK became the first country to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for use. Pfizer said the vaccine had been 95% effective in its rigorous clinical trials.

The vaccine is one of several in development as the world’s scientists race to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Developed by German biotech firm BioNTech and US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, it’s also the first vaccine to use cutting-edge mRNA genetic material to fight the illness. The results of clinical trials for two other vaccines, one by Moderna and one by Oxford University and Astra Zeneca have also been announced.

The FDA in the US is currently examining vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna, although the supply chain is already being readied in preparation for rolling out the Pfizer vaccine. The first mass air shipment of vaccines was delivered to Chicago at the end of November.

Russia and China have already approved vaccines, but without large-scale testing.

SOURCE: cnet

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