United Kingdom becomes first Western nation to begin COVID-19 vaccination program

The first vaccination in the United Kingdom went to a 90-year-old retired shop clerk.

Published: December 8, 2020 7:22am

Updated: December 8, 2020 7:43am

The United Kingdom on Tuesday became the first Western country to begin a mass coronavirus vaccination program, with the first vaccine shot going to a 90-year-old retired shop clerk.

The first patient, Margaret Keenan, received a vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech. Keenan, who turns 91 next week, was first in line at University Hospital in Coventry, one of several medical facilities across the country administering shots in the U.K.'s initial phase of the program, according to the Associated Press. 

British regulators last week authorized the use of the shot. The U.S. is expected within days to approve the shot on an emergency use basis.

Other vaccines expected to get approval in the coming weeks or months include Moderna and AstraZeneca.

The Pfizer vaccination requires two shots. Britain has received 800,000 doses of the company's vaccine, enough to vaccinate 400,000 people.

The first shots will go to people over 80 who are either hospitalized or already have outpatient appointments scheduled, along with nursing home workers and vaccination staff, according to the wire service.

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