First person in the world receives Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID vaccine

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A year after the COVID-19 pandemic began in Wuhan, China, the United Kingdom has been the first western country to start Pfizer-BioNTech vaccinations.

Early Tuesday the U.K. started vaccinating its citizens against the coronavirus which has killed more than 1.5 million people worldwide and sickened tens of millions more. 

Around 50 hospitals in the U.K.’s state-run National Health Service (NHS) started administering the inoculation to people over 80. Nursing home workers are also receiving the vaccine.

Others will have to wait their turn.

The first to receive the shot was grandmother Margaret Keenan, who turns 91 next week. She received the shot at University Hospital Coventry at 6:31 a.m. local time.

“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,” Keenan said to USA Today.

90-year-old Margaret Keenan becomes the first person in the world to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine. Photo by Jacob King, AP

Other details of the rollout for Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine are still emerging.

The first doses of the highly anticipated coronavirus vaccine arrived in the U.K. this past Thursday night after traveling through the Eurotunnel, which connects the U.K. to continental Europe. The vaccination was manufactured in Belgium. The first shipments of the vaccine were delivered to a selected group of U.K. hospitals on Sunday.

The US is hoping to follow the U.K. in its rollout of Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine soon, as well as one manufactured by Moderna. Both vaccines have been found to be 95 percent effective with no serious side effects. 

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could authorize Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine as soon as Dec. 10.

The Trump administration declined when Pfizer offered in the summer to sell the US government additional doses of their COVID-19 vaccine, according to The New York Times. Now, Pfizer says that they may not be able to provide more of its vaccine to the United States until June 2021 because of their commitments to other countries.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that up to 249,000 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine will arrive in Canada by the end of the month with the first doses being delivered next week. The first doses will arrive as some provinces such as Alberta, Ontario and Quebec deal with an increase in COVID-19 cases.

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