The first person to receive the vaccine in the UK was 90-year-old grandmom Margaret Keenan.
The UK was the first country to approve the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for COVID19 and they have rolled it out already. "We believe it is really the start of the end of the pandemic," BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin told CNN. A British grandmom was the first person to receive the vaccine. Margaret Keenan, 90, said the injection she received was the "best early birthday present," as per BBC.
Elderly people in care homes, their caregivers, health workers, and other vulnerable groups will be the first to receive the vaccine, reports CNN. However, two healthcare workers who received it had an allergic reaction to it and now the UK government has issued an advisory saying that "people with a significant history of allergic reactions" should not take the vaccine, according to The Conversation.
The UK has warned people with a history of serious allergies to avoid Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine after two National Health Service workers reported adverse reactions on the first day of rollout https://t.co/B2CWBf9Rhb pic.twitter.com/53kjpvMbKM— Reuters (@Reuters) December 9, 2020
"Any person with a history of anaphylaxis to a vaccine, medicine or food should not receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. A second dose should not be given to anyone who has experienced anaphylaxis following administration of the first dose of this vaccine. Anaphylaxis is a known, although very rare, side effect with any vaccine. Most people will not get anaphylaxis and the benefits in protecting people against COVID-19 outweigh the risks. Anyone due to receive their vaccine should continue with their appointment and discuss any questions or medical history of serious allergies with the healthcare professional prior to getting the jab," read the statement from Dr. June Raine, Chief Executive of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
“I think once people see more people getting vaccinated with this vaccine, they [will] see that it's safe” and gain confidence, says ex-pandemic preparedness chief Rick Bright, a member of President-elect Joe Biden’s Covid-19 advisory board. https://t.co/OqwifklBHY pic.twitter.com/QUiCr5Dgfj— CNN (@CNN) December 11, 2020
The two NHS workers who had a reaction to the vaccine have recovered since then. They were under observation when the reaction happened. They were carrying adrenaline pens with them, which shows that they had a history of serious allergies. The reaction involved skin rash, breathlessness, and sometimes a drop in blood pressure, as per BBC.
Professor Stephen Powis, medical director for the NHS in England, said that this was "common with new vaccines." While uncommon, a reaction like this can happen to even those taking the annual flu vaccine.
The covid situation in the #Rhondda is serious & our NHS is now under severe strain. While we all have hope that the vaccine will bring back normality, the next few weeks are going to be very difficult. Everyone can help by staying away from others. Please do pic.twitter.com/Kgv6eoxHvy— Leanne Wood 🏴 (@LeanneWood) December 11, 2020
On December 7, several people received the first dose of the vaccine on the first day of the rollout. Prof Peter Openshaw, an expert in immunology at Imperial College London, said, "The fact that we know so soon about these two allergic reactions and that the regulator has acted on this to issue precautionary advice shows that this monitoring system is working well."
Canada has also approved the COVID-19 vaccine, just a day after the UK rolled out the vaccines, reported BBC. They called the authorization a "milestone" in the country's coronavirus battle. Their health agency approved the vaccine only after it met their "stringent safety, efficacy and quality requirements." In total, Canada has purchased 20 million doses of the vaccine, which can be used to jab 10 million people. In December, they will be receiving 249,000 doses of the vaccine.
The first 30,000 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine are set to arrive in Canada soon. ‘This is the good news we all needed,’ Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, but added that it is 'only the first step in what will be a massive project’ https://t.co/fsjWjJ0frB pic.twitter.com/qVAZhDxy1d— Reuters (@Reuters) December 11, 2020
The US is also set to roll out the vaccines and the states have to decide who gets it first, according to the Wall Street Journal. The vaccine will be receiving an emergency authorization soon and the country will have to go through the herculean task of inoculating its people. The number of doses being sent to the states will be enough to inoculate less than 1% of the population at the moment.
Statement from President-elect Biden on FDA Advisory Committee Recommended Emergency Use Authorization of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine: pic.twitter.com/rk1G5aLBP5— Biden-Harris Presidential Transition (@Transition46) December 11, 2020