Margaret Keenan, world’s first person to have Covid vaccine, receives booster jab

‘There’s nothing to be frightened of,’ says Margaret Keenan, urging others to be vaccinated

Jane Dalton
Friday 24 September 2021 19:09
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<p>Mrs Keenan said having the jab had protected her in the mind as well as body </p>

Mrs Keenan said having the jab had protected her in the mind as well as body

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A 91-year-old grandmother who became the first person in the world to have a Covid-19 vaccine has been given a booster jab, and urged others to do the same.

Margaret Keenan returned to University Hospital Coventry, in the West Midlands - where she had the historic injection in December - to get her booster on Friday.

Afterwards, she told reporters: “I feel great”, encouraging people to “go for it”.

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

More than 1.5 million people have been invited to book a booster vaccine.

The over-50s, frontline health and care workers and those aged 16-49 at risk of severe illness who have had their second vaccine at least six months ago are being invited for a booster.

Mrs Keenan, who has four grandchildren, was reunited with hospital matron May Parsons - also having her booster jab, as a frontline health worker - with the pair sharing a big hug.

Ms Parsons administered Mrs Keenan’s first jab last year, when Mrs Keenan referred to them both as “Maggie-May” after they rolled up their sleeves.

As the first person anywhere in the world to have a Covid jab at the start of the mass vaccination programme, she is part of the NHS campaign on the booster rollout.

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

Mrs Keenan, from Coventry, added: “I don’t really know what stops people from having it... there’s nothing to be frightened of.

“It’s protected me in the mind, as well. I feel quite confident now, going out, places I wouldn’t have thought about before.”

Mrs Keenan said she had received “loads of letters” from “some lovely people” in places including Japan, Australia and the US. “I’m big news,” she joked.

Ms Parsons also urged people to take up a booster, saying “we are not out of the pandemic just yet”.

The matron, who has worked for the NHS for almost 20 years since moving from the Philippines, also said she was concerned about the effect on wards this winter, with about 10 per cent of the UK population still having had no vaccine.

She said: “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.

“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.”

Ms Parsons said having the booster was “really imperative” if people want the maximum protection.

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