A 90-year-old woman has become the first person to be given a Covid jab as part of the mass vaccination programme being rolled out across the UK.
Margaret Keenan, who turns 91 next week, said it was the “best early birthday present”.
She was given the injection at 06:31 GMT – the first of 800,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine that will be given in the coming weeks.
Up to four million more are expected by the end of the month.
Hubs in the UK will vaccinate over-80s and some health and care staff – the programme aims to protect the most vulnerable and return life to normal.
Matron May Parsons administered Ms Keenan’s vaccine at University Hospital in Coventry.
Ms Keenan, who is originally from Enniskillen, said: “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.”
“I can’t thank May and the NHS staff enough who have looked after me tremendously, and my advice to anyone offered the vaccine is to take it – if I can have it at 90 then you can have it too.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock told BBC Breakfast there was a “long march ahead of us but this marks the way out”.
He said he had felt “conflicted emotions” this morning saying he was “thrilled and delighted” to see Margaret get her jab but was also “really determined that as a country we’ve got to stick together”.
“This virus is deadly. We’ve got to stick by the rules,” he said.
The UK is the first country in the world to start using the Pfizer vaccine after regulators approved its use last week.