It was the first injection with the first approved anti-COVID-19 vaccine, a historic event to millions all over the world who have lived in the shadow of death caused by the raging pandemic. A 90-year-old British lady. Margaret Keenan, received the first shot at the University Hospital Coventry at 6:31 a.m. on December 8, in what has now been called “V-Day.”
Sharing the spotlight was the Filipina nurse who gave her the first injection – May Parsons, who has been working in the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) for the last 24 years, along with many thousands of other Filipino health workers.
Britain became the first country to approve a COVID-19 vaccine that had gone through the lengthy process set by the World Health Organization – that of US drugmaker Pfizer with Germany’s BioNTech with a reported 95 percent efficacy. The Pfizer vaccine, along with that of Moderna, is awaiting approval by the US Federal Drug Administration. Russia and China have been administering doses of their own vaccines to their people, but Pfizer vaccine is the first to be approved by WHO.
“I feel so privileged to be the first person vaccinated against COVID-19. It’s the best early birthday present I could wish for because 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,” she said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, “Thank you to our NHS, to all of the scientists who worked so hard to develop this vaccine, to all the volunteers – and to everyone who has been following the rules to protect others. We will beat this together.” Stephen Powers, the medical director of England’s National Health Service, said of the first vaccine shot outside of trials. “This really feels like the beginning of the end…. It has been a really dreadful year.”
In Manila. British Ambassador Daniel Pruce hailed the start of COVID-19 vaccinations in his country. “Great to see that the vaccine is administered by nurse May Parsons from the Philippines – “one of the many thousands of Filipino healthcare workers making such an enormous contribution to the NHS,” he said.
Britain now has its first 800,000 doses but these are only a small fraction of what it needs. It plans to vaccinate some 25 million people, about 40 percent of its 66.6-million population. The first to get the vaccine are those over 80 and nursing home workers.
The whole world, including the Philippines, is watching this first national vaccination program. With our much bigger population of some 110 million, we will need many more doses of the vaccine, and at such great cost. We expect to receive our own initial supply of a vaccine around May next year.
But we are glad that the worldwide process of vaccination has now begun with the first mass vaccination in Britain, with our own participation through Filipina nurse May Parsons. That first big step raises hopes around the world that COVID-19, like the many plagues that preceded it in world history, will soon be over.
Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph