Date of prep: December 2020
Prescribing information and
adverse events reporting
For healthcare professionals only
The biggest vaccine campaign in NHS history, nicknamed ‘V-Day’, kicked off this morning, as 90-year-old grandmother Margaret Keenan became the first person in the world to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine following its clinical approval.
Pharmacy teams have been working rapidly across the UK to ensure the safe delivery of the first UK COVID-19 vaccine across the country today.
At 6.31 am early riser Margaret, known to friends and family as Maggie, was given the life-saving jab by nurse May Parsons at her local hospital in Coventry.
“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!”
NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens praised all those involved in delivering the new vaccine programme.
“Less than a year after the first case of this new disease was diagnosed, the NHS has now delivered the first clinically approved COVID-19 vaccination – that is a remarkable achievement,” Stevens said: “A heartfelt thank you goes to everyone who has made this a reality – the scientists and doctors who worked tirelessly, and the volunteers who selflessly took part in the trials. They have achieved in months what normally takes years.
“My colleagues across the health service are rightly proud of this historic moment as we lead in deploying the PfizerBioNTech vaccine.
“I also want to thank Margaret, our first patient to receive the vaccine on the NHS. Today is just the first step in the largest vaccination programme this country has ever seen. It will take some months to complete the work as more vaccine supplies become available and until then we must not drop our guard. But if we all stay vigilant in the weeks and months ahead, we will be able to look back at this as a decisive turning point in the battle against the virus.”
NHS nurse May Parsons said it was a “huge honour” to be the first in the country to deliver the vaccine to a patient.
Speaking at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, nurse May Parsons, said:
“It’s a huge honour to be the first person in the country to deliver a COVID-19 jab to a patient, I’m just glad that I’m able to play a part in this historic day.
“The last few months have been tough for all of us working in the NHS, but now it feels like there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
North of the border in Scotland things were also moving at pace. The first vaccinations against coronavirus have been given in Scotland to those who will be carrying out the vaccination programme.
Initial supplies of the Pfizer vaccine have been arriving at NHS Boards across Scotland since the weekend and are being stored at the required Ultra-Low Temperature ahead of the start of the vaccination programme.
Scotland’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nicola Steedman was at NHS Lothian’s Western General Hospital to see the roll-out begin, with vaccinators being vaccinated first.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:
“This is obviously a very welcome milestone in our collective fight against the pandemic and I am very grateful to all those who have worked so hard to ensure Scotland is ready to deliver these first COVID-19 vaccinations.
“Science has given us hope and we are starting on a journey which will eventually allow us to return to the lives we want to lead.
“Following clinical advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) we will begin with those groups which have been prioritised to address 99 per cent of preventable deaths associated with COVID-19. These include elderly care home residents and staff, frontline health and social care workers and a number of other groups who are at risk of serious harm and death from this virus.
“We ask everyone to be patient as we work through these groups as quickly as vaccine supply allows and we urge you to go for the vaccine when it’s your turn.
“Meantime it remains very important that as we vaccinate, we all stick to the necessary restrictions and public health advice to keep suppressing the virus to as low a level as we can.
“A vaccination programme of this scale is a significant logistical challenge and requires a major nationwide effort. But it is one we undertake with optimism and determination to succeed.”
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nicola Steedman said:
“I felt genuinely privileged to see this long hoped for and clinically crucial vaccination programme begin at NHS Lothian’s Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, and I would like to sincerely thank all those involved in the vast amount of work which has allowed us to reach this absolute milestone in our COVID-19 response.
“The arrival of these first COVID-19 vaccines is a huge turning point for us all, and will protect those most at risk from the serious effects of the virus, but we can’t relax yet. Even after the first people are vaccinated it will be important for now that everyone continues to follow the Scottish Government’s guidance for their area and above all to follow FACTS. These will continue to be the most important things we can do to protect ourselves and others from the virus, as we continue to roll out the vaccination to all of those who need it.”
Clinical Lead for the COVID Vaccination Hub at NHS Lothian’s Western General Hospital Pauline Bell said:
“I am incredibly proud to be leading the team of vaccinators here at the Western General Hospital, for this unique and hugely important vaccination programme.
“An enormous amount of planning and preparation from across the organisation has been undertaken to get us to this point, so I am looking forward to finally welcoming staff into the clinic.
“As we prepare to administer the very first vaccinations, we reach a crucial juncture in the fight against COVID-19, the beginning of the journey towards a return to normality.”
This circular is being shared under the Open Government Copyright licence.
Pharmacy in Practice is a UK pharmacy publication with its roots in Scotland.