Briton who had world’s first Covid jab receives her booster shot

·4-min read
Margaret Keenan receives her booster shot from Julie Baines (Jacob King/PA) (PA Wire)
Margaret Keenan receives her booster shot from Julie Baines (Jacob King/PA) (PA Wire)

A grandmother who became the first person in the world to receive the coronavirus vaccine received her booster shot on Friday.

Margaret Keenan, 91, returned to University Hospital Coventry, in the West Midlands – where she had the historic injection in December 2020.

Afterwards, she said “I feel great” and has urged others to “go for it” and have their booster jab.

It comes as the NHS revealed more than 350,000 people have booked a booster this week, as the latest stage of the fight against Covid-19 gets under way.

More than 1.5 million eligible people have so far been invited to book their booster vaccine.

Mrs Keenan, a mother-of-two and grandmother-of-four, was reunited with hospital matron May Parsons with the pair sharing a big hug.

Ms Parsons was the medic who administered Mrs Keenan’s jab on December 8 last year, with Mrs Keenan referring to them both jokingly as “Maggie-May” after they rolled up their sleeves.

Margaret Keenan is reunited with matron May Parsons, who gave her the first ever Covid-19 jab (Jacob King/PA)
Margaret Keenan is reunited with matron May Parsons, who gave her the first ever Covid-19 jab (Jacob King/PA)

As the first person anywhere in the world to have a Covid jab at the start of the mass vaccination programme, the face of Mrs Keenan, known as Maggie, was beamed around the globe.

In April 2021, she urged people to get their second jabs and she is now lending her voice to the NHS campaign supporting the booster rollout.

The nonagenarian, who only retired from her job working in a jeweller’s five years ago, said: “I think, for the few seconds it takes, go and have the injection because it’s saving their lives, their family’s lives, and saving the NHS.”

Mrs Keenan, who has lived in Coventry for more than 60 years but is originally from Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, added: “It’s protected me in the mind as well. I feel quite confident now, going out, places I wouldn’t have thought about before.

“I feel so happy now that I’ve got this done and can be free.”

Mrs Keenan said she had received “loads of letters” from “some lovely people” in places including Japan, Australia and the United States following her new celebrity status.

Ms Parsons also urged people to take up a booster, saying “we are not out of the pandemic just yet” and adding: “The wisest decision is to get vaccinated and protected.”

The matron in respiratory medicine, who has worked for the NHS for almost 20 years since moving from the Philippines also said she was “absolutely” concerned about the impact on wards this winter, with about 10% of the UK population still having had no vaccine.

She said: “At the moment we are combatting different patients who are coming into our wards, this includes pregnant people who have not been vaccinated and it’s a real worry for me.

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

“I know the lockdown has gone, but people are not thinking about protecting themselves and obviously their unborn babies.

“It’s thought to be the hardest winter we’re ever going to face, with flu and Covid altogether.

“I can’t say it loud enough – please get vaccinated and protect yourself.

“There’s been a lot of people that have been anti-vaccine.

“Obviously flu is still the highest killer during winter.

“On top of that is Covid, so please, please get vaccinated.”

Ms Parsons also warned that having the booster jab is “really imperative if they want the maximum protection”.

She described seeing Mrs Keenan again as “lovely”.

She added: “As humans we need to hug, and we need that physical contact.

“It’s really nice to see she is looking very well, probably better than me.”

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.

“If you’re invited, please do come forward for your boost of protection.”

Those eligible for the booster include over-50s, frontline health and care workers and those aged 16-49 at risk of severe illness.

Those who are eligible and had their second vaccine at least six months ago will be invited for a booster, with booking available at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or by calling 119.

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