A world first in the Midlands: The coronavirus vaccine

Margaret Keenan who lives in Coventry and William, Bill, Shakespeare from Warwickshire were the first two people to receive the vaccine in hospital in Coventry. Credit: PA images

All eyes were on the Midlands as the the first people in the world, outside of clinical trials, received the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine in Coventry.

The 8th of December 2020, dubbed "V Day" by health secretary Matt Hancock, will go down in history- and our region will go with it.

Who was vaccinated first?

At 6.31am (8 December), in hospital in Coventry, Margaret Keenan became the first person to have the jab, administered by nurse May Parsons.

Margaret, who will be 91 next week, said: “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.”

She added: “I don’t know how I feel, it’s just so strange and so wonderful, really"

The next Midlander to make history was William Shakespeare from Warwickshire.

81-year-old William, or Bill, is another patient at the hospital in Coventry and was second in line for the vaccine.

He said: “I need to say, the staff at this hospital are wonderful.”

The pair will need to have another jab in three weeks' time and then have to wait a further week before they become fully immune which will be around the second week of January.

150 vaccinations will be done at the hospital in Coventry today (8 December) and 400 a day will be taking place by next week.

By the new year health bosses hope to have vaccination sites set up in the car park - similar to testing sites- so more people can receive the vaccine.

Prof. Stephen Powis, National Medical Director for the NHS, described the day as "truly historic".

He added that the vaccination programme is the start of the return to normality.

Where else in the Midlands is the vaccine being rolled out?

Once fully underway it will be the UK's biggest vaccination programme, heralded as the beginning of the end of the pandemic.

These are the hospital trusts in the Midlands that have received the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine:

EAST MIDLANDS:

  • Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

  • Leicester Partnership NHS Trust

  • Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

  • Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust

  • Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

  • University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust

  • United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

WEST MIDLANDS:

  • Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

  • Shrewsbury And Telford Hospital NHS Trust

  • Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust

  • Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust

  • University Hospitals Coventry And Warwickshire NHS Trust

  • University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust

  • University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust

In Derby Joan Brown also received the vaccine on Wednesday (8 December).

The 88-year-old was an out patient at the Royal Derby Hospital and says she was offered the jab as she's in the high priority 80 plus group.

She said she was "surprised and happy to have it."

And meet 91-year-old Martin Kenyon, from Shropshire, who was another among the first to get the vaccine.

He became an online sensation after he was Interviewed by CNN. Martin says he got the jab because “there’s no point in dying now when I’ve lived this long, is there?”

  • Footage from Twitter


What do GPs have to say about the vaccination programme?

GPs and other primary care staff are now on standby to start delivering the jab too.

Dr Thuva Amuthan is a GP in Birmingham. He says that doctors and nurses deliver the flu vaccine year in and year out and they're "up for the challenge".


What concerns do people have?

There are concerns over how quickly the vaccine has been approved, with some people saying they wouldn't trust it.

Ann Bailey from Birmingham says she won't be having the vaccine when it's made available to her. She says people need more information before they can be expected to get it.

There are also concerns over how Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has to be stored because it needs to be kept in temperatures of -70C to -80C.

However, Public Health England says it has secured 58 specialised Twin Guard ultra-low temperature freezers which provide storage for approximately five million doses of vaccines that require ultra-low temperature storage.

The freezers are in the UK, fully operational, and located in national storage facilities.

The freezers, which are not portable, each hold about 86,000 doses of the vaccine.

The government acknowledges that it was a quick process and there will be logistical challenges- but it has assured the public that all checks have been met to a high standard.


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