Margaret Keenan, the first person in the world to receive an approved COVID-19 vaccine, has received her spring booster today.
The 92 year old grandmother of four is one of two million people to get their spring booster in just four weeks since the latest phase of the biggest and fastest NHS vaccination programme began.
NHS chief executive, Amanda Pritchard thanked Maggie for coming forward for her spring booster and encouraged others to follow in her footsteps when they are invited to get their extra dose of protection.
Since the NHS in England made history when Maggie received the world’s first approved vaccination in Coventry on 8 December 2020 more than 121 million lifesaving COVID jabs have been delivered preventing around 186,0000 hospitalisations and saving thousands of lives.
Maggie, a former jewellery shop assistant who only retired seven years ago and has two children and four grandchildren, said she was “delighted” to get her latest vaccine jab, and encouraged others to do the same.
Getting her spring booster, Maggie said: “I am really pleased to get my Spring Booster and feel I will be better protected against COVID-19 as a result. Now we are all out and about, it is even more important for older people to keep up with all their vaccine doses and I would encourage anyone aged 75 and over to book their vaccine now”.
NHS chief executive, Amanda Pritchard, said: “The world watched in anticipation and hope as the NHS made history when it delivered the world’s first approved COVID vaccine to 90 year old Maggie Keenan in December 2020 and so I am delighted that today, Maggie has received her extra dose of protection against the virus.
“Fast forward from that landmark moment almost 18 months ago, our incredible staff and volunteers have delivered 121 million vaccinations at speed, preventing thousands of hospitalisations and saving thousands of lives.
“When it is your turn to get vaccinated, follow in Maggie’s footsteps and get your spring jab – the NHS has worked hard to ensure that people can easily get their vaccination and it remains the best way to protect yourself and those around you from the virus”.
People aged 75 and over, care home residents and those who are immunosuppressed have been able to get their spring booster since 21 March. Around 2.6 million invites and over 712,000 reminders have been sent by the NHS to those who are eligible for their spring booster.
Spring booster jab appointments can be booked quickly and conveniently on the NHS website and people that can’t go online can book by phoning 119.
Thousands of sites including community pharmacies, vaccination centres and hospital hubs are offering spring boosters to those most vulnerable to coronavirus. Local NHS teams are also offering vaccinations in care homes with hundreds of visits taking place.
Professor Andy Hardy, Chief Executive Officer at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, added: “We are delighted to welcome Maggie back for her Spring Booster. She’s been a passionate champion for the vaccine since being the first person in the world to receive it, here in Coventry, and we are proud to continue to support the roll out of this vital lifesaving programme”.
The NHS COVID jabs programme is the biggest vaccination drive in health history.
Tens of thousands of healthcare workers and volunteers have delivered jabs at thousands of sites including shopping centres, racecourses, theatres, theme parks, places of worship and even a curry house as well as hospitals, GP surgeries, care homes and at pharmacies.
Recent research from the UK Health Security Agency showed that the NHS booster programme has helped prevent around 186,000 hospitalisations since mid-December.
Meanwhile, a report from the National Audit Office has said the NHS Vaccination Programme met “stretching and unprecedented targets” as it helped save lives and reduce hospital admissions – all while making effective use of public money.