Covid: How the world media reacted to the UK's first coronavirus vaccination

The UK is the first western country to being administering a coronavirus vaccine. Credit: PA

The UK became the first western nation to begin vaccinating people against Covid-19 on Tuesday in a key turning point in the fight against the pandemic, and the eyes of the world were watching.

Margaret Keenan, 90, was injected with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at 6.31am on Tuesday morning, becoming the first person to get the jab.

The UK regulator approved the vaccine last week, becoming the first nation in the world to do so.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is still being studied by US and European regulators and is expected to be approved as soon as this week.

French state-owned media company France 24 hailed the momentous occasion and noted the celebrations of many top health officials in the UK.

They pointed out the UK is one of the worst-affected countries from Covid-19 and noted the vaccine wasn't expected to make much difference over the winter.

France 24 also highlighted the need to combat skepticism over the vaccine, a particular problem in France where as many as 50% of the population say they won't get the injection.

How France24 covered the UK launching its vaccination programme. Credit: France24

They pointed to Health Secretary Matt Hancock's pledge to get the vaccine live on TV and speculated over whether the Queen will publicly take part in the campaign to allay people's fears.

They also noted the production of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine takes place in Europe and any disruption caused by the end of the transition period on January 1 may make importing the vaccine harder.

Over in the US, Fox News celebrated the vaccine and focused on Ms Keenan who said she felt "privileged" to become the first person to be given the jab.

They also pointed out the comments by top US health official Dr Anthony Fauci, who said last week the UK had not acted "as carefully" as the US when approving the vaccine - he later apologised and withdrew his statements.

The US is the hardest-hit nation in the world, with almost 3,000 Covid-19 deaths recorded on December 2 and warnings that the pandemic showed no signs of slowing over the holiday period.

CNN described the injection as a "landmark moment" in the fight against the pandemic.

CNN's report on the UK's Covid vaccine rollout. Credit: CNN

They highlighted the logistical challenge presented by the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine due to the need to keep it at -70C, but also noted the joy Ms Keenan felt at the prospect of seeing her family again.

The New York Times said the delivery of the first vaccine had "little precedent in modern medicine" and recognised the momentous occasion.

They highlighted the speed at which the UK approved the vaccine saying: "Health workers began administering the shots six days after British regulators leapt ahead of the United States to become the first Western country to authorise a coronavirus vaccine."

The New York Times leads on Margaret Keenan becoming the first person in the UK to receive vaccine. Credit: New York Times

The pointed to comments by Foreign Office minister James Cleverly who said "This is such an important product, it’s probably perhaps the most important product."

German state media company Deutsche Welle highlighted comments by Boris Johnson who called the vaccine "a huge step forward" but noted most of the population would not be getting injected until next year.

They also pointed to the role the Queen could play in any campaign to encourage the public to take the vaccine.

Deutsche Welle said: "Buckingham Palace refused to comment on reports that Queen Elizabeth II, 94, and her 99-year-old husband, Prince Philip, would be vaccinated as a public example of its safety."