Margaret Keenan, the first person in the world to receive a Covid-19 jab outside of a clinical trial, received a booster shot today in the next phase of the NHS vaccination programme.
The 91-year-old grandmother of four, who is known as Maggie, returned to University Hospital, Coventry to receive the top-up vaccination.
May Parsons, who administered Maggie’s initial jab ten months ago also received her booster, as the pair were reunited.
The NHS in England made history when Maggie received the first approved vaccination in Coventry on 8 December and has since delivered more than 78 million jabs.
Maggie, a former jewellery shop assistant who only retired five years ago and has two children and four grandchildren, said she was “delighted” to get the extra dose before the winter, and encouraged others to do the same.
Head of the health service Amanda Pritchard today praised Maggie and May for launching the NHS COVID vaccination programme, along with the staff and volunteers involved in the biggest and most successful rollout in health service history.
The NHS chief executive revealed that more than 350,000 people have booked a booster so far this week, and urged others to follow in the footsteps of Maggie and May by taking up the offer when they are invited.
Amanda Pritchard, NHS chief executive, said: “The world watched in December as Maggie Keenan became the first in the world to get a COVID vaccine and since then, more than 40 million others across the country have joined her. This is testament to the incredible efforts of NHS staff and volunteers, working at speed to protect people from this awful virus.
“It is wonderful to see Maggie get her top up jab today, protecting herself and those around her ahead of winter.
“With more than 350,000 people already booked in for their top-up jab, it is great to see so much enthusiasm for the booster vaccine in such a short period of time.
“If you’re invited, please do come forward for your boost of protection”.
The NHS kickstarted the COVID-19 booster programme last week within two days of updated advice from the JCVI.
On getting her booster 91 year old grandmother, Maggie Keenan, said: “It was a real privilege to be the first person vaccinated against COVID-19 in December, and to be able to receive my booster alongside May was hilarious. May is great fun – we have done the double-act today, Maggie May.
“I feel good, I feel really good. I don’t really know what stops people from having it, maybe they are frightened of the needle, but it is nothing to be frightened of.
“It has protected me in my mind as well, and I feel quite confident now going out to places, I feel so happy now that I have got this done.
On why people should come forward for their vaccine. Maggie added: “It’s saving their lives, their family’s lives, and it is helping the NHS, so what more can I say – go for it, go and have it done, you will feel much better for it, it is going to help you, and help others”.
Matron May Parsons said: “To see Maggie doing so well is really extremely heart-warming for me – obviously we had our vaccine in December and getting the booster is imperative if you want maximum protection this winter.
“Even if people are not doing it for themselves and are healthy and well, they are doing it for other people that are quite vulnerable.
“It is a community responsibility – I cannot say it loudly enough, get vaccinated and get protected”.
The jabs for Maggie and May came shortly after the NHS invited over one and a half million people eligible for the Covid-19 booster vaccine to book an appointment to get jabbed.
Those who are eligible and had their second vaccine at least six months ago will be invited for a booster vaccine.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Maggie’s first vaccine was a significant moment for the UK and the world – it provided collective hope that we could beat this pandemic and get back to normal.
“Ten months on, the phenomenal vaccine rollout is a proven success and has saved more than 123,000 lives, allowing us to safely ease restrictions while we learn to live with this virus.
“I’m thrilled to see that Maggie has got her booster jab. I urge everybody eligible for a booster to book their appointment to help keep the virus under control for the long term and protect the most vulnerable this winter”.
Vaccines Minister Maggie Throup said: “I’m delighted to see Maggie has received her booster shot, ensuring the protection she has developed from her first and second vaccines is strengthened and prolonged ahead of the winter.
“Thank you to the brilliant NHS workers for your continued efforts to vaccinate people as quickly as possible.
“Please get your COVID-19 and flu vaccines as soon as possible”.
Eligible individuals will be able to quickly and conveniently book an appointment via www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination. People that can’t go online can book by phoning 119.
The booster programme is being delivered through existing sites including pharmacies, hospital hubs, GP practices and vaccination centres, and in line with JCVI guidance people will receive either one dose of Pfizer or half a dose of Moderna.
People could also be offered a booster dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine if they cannot have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.
Those who are eligible for a booster at least six months on from their second dose include:
- those living in residential care homes for older adults
- all adults aged 50 years or over
- frontline health and social care workers
- all those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 (as set out in the green book), and adult carers adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals.