A 90-year-old woman in the United Kingdom on Tuesday became the first person in the world to receive a coronavirus vaccination outside of clinical trials, marking a watershed moment in the fight against the crippling worldwide pandemic.
Margaret Keenan received the first of two injections of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine Tuesday morning at University Hospital in Coventry, a city 94 miles northwest of London.
Keenan, who turns 91 next week, said in a statement released by the U.K.’s National Health Service that receiving the vaccination was “the best early birthday present,” CNN reported.
Her vaccination is the first of 800,000 of the Pfizer vaccine that will be dispensed in the near future. The U.K. has ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine at this point.
British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Tuesday was “V-Day” and “a tribute to scientific endeavor and human ingenuity and to the hard work of so many people.”
“Today marks the start of the fight back against our common enemy, the coronavirus,” he said, BBC reported.
In the U.K., those over 80 and health care workers at the highest risk will get the first vaccinations, CNN reported. The country has ordered seven million doses of a vaccine developed by Moderna, which could be approved for emergency use within weeks.
As of Tuesday, roughly 68 million coronavirus cases and 1.6 million related deaths have been reported worldwide, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.