Skip to navigationSkip to content
JAB JAB JAB

Photos: The UK begins its Covid-19 vaccination program

Margaret Keenan puts her thumbs up after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine
NHS England and NHS Improvement/via REUTERS
Margaret Keenan, the first patient in Britain to receive the Pfizer/BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine at University Hospital, reacts at the start of the largest ever immunization program in the British history, in Coventry, Britain, on December 8, 2020.
  • Annabelle Timsit
By Annabelle Timsit

Geopolitics reporter

LondonPublished

The UK became the first country today (Dec. 8) to use Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine to inoculate people against Covid-19.

Britain first approved the vaccine for emergency use on Dec.2. It has purchased 40 million doses, which it says is enough to vaccinate about a third of its population. Here’s guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, a group of experts that advises UK health departments on vaccines, on the first people to receive the jab:

It’s a momentous milestone that comes nearly nine months after the UK’s first lockdown. The disease has since killed more than 1.53 million people, including at least 61,000 in Britain.

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) said the first jab was administered to 90-year-old grandmother Margaret Keenan by her nurse May Parsons at 6.31 am in the city of Coventry. “Early riser Margaret, known to friends and family as Maggie…turns 91 next week,” the NHS wrote in a release, and “is a former jewelry shop assistant who only retired four years ago. She has a daughter, a son and four grandchildren, and is looking forward to being able to go out again once she receives the top up dose.”

Meanwhile, UK prime minister Boris Johnson witnessed some of the first vaccinations being administered in a London hospital. “Today marks a huge step forward in the UK’s fight against coronavirus, as we begin delivering the vaccine to the first patients across the whole country,” he said in a statement last night. “I am immensely proud of the scientists who developed the vaccine, members of the public who took part in trials, and the NHS who have worked tirelessly to prepare for rollout.”

Jacob King/Pool via REUTERS
Staff applaud Margaret Keenan, 90, as she becomes the first patient in Britain to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. Keenan called the experience “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.”
Jacob King/Pool via REUTERS
William “Bill” Shakespeare (yes, you read that right), 81, receives the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at University Hospital in Coventry.
Jacob King/Pool via REUTERS
A nurse holds a vial of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at University Hospital in Coventry.
Andrew Milligan/Pool via REUTERS
Deputy charge nurse Katie McIntosh waits to administer the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to the staff at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Victoria Jones/Pool via REUTERS
Dr. Doreen Brown, 85, receives the first of two Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine jabs at Guy’s Hospital.
Frank Augstein/Pool via REUTERS
British prime minister Boris Johnson claps as nurse Rebecca Cathersides administers the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to Lyn Wheeler at Guy’s Hospital in London.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.