CARDIFF, WALES - DECEMBER 08: A close-up of a COVID-19 vaccine at Cardiff and Vale Therapy Centre on December 8, 2020 in Cardiff, Wales. More than 50 hospitals across United Kingdom were designated as covid-19 vaccine hubs, the first stage of what will be a lengthy vaccination campaign. NHS staff, over-80s, and care home residents will be among the first to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which recently received emergency approval from the country's health authorities. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

1230013927

CARDIFF, WALES - DECEMBER 08: A close-up of a COVID-19 vaccine at Cardiff and Vale Therapy Centre on December 8, 2020 in Cardiff, Wales. More than 50 hospitals across United Kingdom were designated as covid-19 vaccine hubs, the first stage of what will be a lengthy vaccination campaign. NHS staff, over-80s, and care home residents will be among the first to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which recently received emergency approval from the country's health authorities. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

Photo by: Matthew Horwood

Matthew Horwood

90 Year Old Grandma is the First Recipient of COVID Vaccine in UK

By: Leah Weber

COVID-19 vaccine administration is underway in the United Kingdom. Margaret Keenan, 90, was given the first dose of the Pfizer and BioNTech mRNA vaccine outside of the global trials.

December 08, 2020

At University Hospital Coventry in England, this first immunization marks the beginning of a massive effort by the National Health Service (NHS) to fight COVID-19. After being granted emergency approval, Pfizer and BioNTech delivered the first of the vaccines for distribution by the NHS.

Though Margaret was the first, she was quickly followed by a man with a very familiar name. William Shakespeare, 81, not from Stratford-upon-Avon, but from Warwickshire, received the second of two "jabs" (British colloquial for vaccine).

This massive effort by the NHS is a light at the end of a "2020" tunnel. With more than just Pfizer and BioNtech in the game, this is a global war against a virus that has upended the lives of millions. In the case of the UK specifically, their order of 40 million doses for 20 million patients will start with seniors and healthcare workers, and continue along the plan put in place by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization.

This vaccine and its 95% effectiveness rate puts the UK ahead of the US and Europe. In addition to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, Moderna has a similar effectiveness rate and is likely to start distributing vaccines stateside this month.

On the eve of her 91st birthday, Ms. Keenan said, "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."

Next Up

What Goes In Must Come Out!

THIS CAME OUT OF ME, with back-to-back episodes premiering February 23 at 8p ET on Science Channel, takes audiences deep inside extreme and unusual medical emergencies.

Who Wants to Be an Astronaut?

If you've ever wanted to travel into space, this is your chance. No, really. Even you.

Woolly Mammoths Will Walk the Arctic Tundra Again

Using breakthrough advances in CRISPR genetic engineering, a new wave of thoughtful disruptive conservation and restorative biology aims to rewild degraded ecosystems to help combat the effects of climate change and loss of biodiversity.

25 Years In the Making, the James Webb Telescope Is Coming to Science Channel

The world’s most powerful observatory - the James Webb Space Telescope – is set for launch later this month after more than 25 years of development and construction. Science Channel, the leader of all things space, will take viewers inside this incredible feat of technology and its launch with two specials airing Tuesday, December 21 at 10 PM ET/PT with a Post-Launch Special to air Sunday, December 26 at 10 PM ET/PT.

Dr. Anthony Fauci and Others Discuss The Race for the Vaccine and Conquering COVID

THE VACCINE: CONQUERING COVID premieres Thursday, February 18 at 10p on Discovery and streaming on discovery+.

Uncovering Long Lost Shipwrecks? Count Us In

On August 5 at 10p ET, ABANDONED: EXPEDITION SHIPWRECK is bringing us into the world's greatest sunken mysteries, investigating historic shipwrecks and untold stories of the deep. Catch the premiere on Science Channel and discovery+.

Journey Through the Cosmos in an All-New Season of How the Universe Works

The new season premieres March 24 on Science Channel and streams on discovery+.

Axiom Lifts Off with the First Fully Private Crewed Mission to Space

Axiom Mission 1 blasted off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center today, setting the standard for commercial space travel with a first-of-its-kind mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

When Outer Space Meets Film Noir

Space inspires awe and wonder but it also can be scary… and lethal. Supermassive black holes, deadly gamma-ray bursts, rogue asteroids, dark energy, supernovas… Our world is under attack from above. It’s like a ticking time bomb - and we're ready for takeoff! KILLERS OF THE COSMOS premieres Sunday, September 19 on Science Channel and discovery+.

Female ‘Vampire’ Remains Discovered in 17th-Century Graveyard

Archaeologists have unearthed an extremely unusual burial ritual to prevent a return from the dead.