Margaret Keenan, the first-ever person to receive a Covid-19 jab exactly a year ago, has urged people to get vaccinated as the booster programme ramps up.
The 91-year-old said she was “so happy” that she had got the dose, and it had been a wonderful year since.
Speaking to the BBC on Wednesday morning, she spoke of being stopped by strangers in the street who said seeing her get jab made them also willing to get vaccinated.
“People meet me in the street and they say ‘thank god for you because I wasn’t going to have this jab’ and it’s lovely to hear that,” she said. “Even young people.”
She urged those that had not yet got vaccinated to “please go get the jab” saying: “They could save your life and the lives of your friends and family and the NHS of course.”
Mrs Keenan – known as Maggie – was speaking to media at University Hospital Coventry, the place where a year ago to the day, on December 8 last year, she became the first person to have a Covid jab outside of trials.
The grandmother-of-four from Coventry advised those still doubting whether to get jabbed: “Just don’t think about it, go and have it done. It doesn’t take long to have it done.”
Describing the moment she became a global name by getting the jab, Mrs Keenan also told the PA news agency: “It felt great, honestly, I could not believe that things went so well, afterwards.
“At the time I wasn’t feeling good but once I got that jab and things started to be better, so I had a wonderful year – thanks to the NHS.”
Mrs Keenan hugged May Parsons, the nurse who gave her the vaccination, in the reunion one year on.
The 91-year-old’s comments come as the booster programe was formally opened to the over-40s with just a three month gap from second dose on the national booking system.