The first Pfizer COVID-19 jab in the world has been delivered to an NHS patient, 90-year-old grandmother Margaret Keenan, as the health service begins the biggest vaccination campaign in its history.
The phased vaccination programme will see patients aged 80 and above who are already attending hospital as an outpatient, and those who are being discharged home after a hospital stay, among the first to receive the life-saving jab.
Read more: COVID-19: UK authorises Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
‘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,’ Sir Simon Stevens, NHS England Chief Executive 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.’
Care home providers are also being asked by the Department of Health and Social Care to begin booking staff in to vaccination clinics. GPs are also expected to be able to begin vaccinating care home residents. Any appointments not used for these groups will be used for healthcare workers who are at highest risk of serious illness from COVID-19.
Read more: Free flu vaccinations rolled out to over 50s
‘I’m incredibly proud that nursing staff will be at the very heart of the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine,’ said Dame Donna Kinnair, RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary.
‘Nursing staff know that with every vaccination they give, this dreadful situation moves that little bit closer to its end. This unprecedented roll-out plan relies most heavily on nursing staff in all settings and they feel great responsibility and pride today.’