The first British woman to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, Margaret Keenan, 90, received the first of two doses at 6:31 a.m. local time at Coventry University Hospital on Tuesday, less than a week after Britain became the first country to approve the vaccine.

Keenan, who turns 91 next week, said she felt privileged to be the first to make the recording. This is the best early birthday present I could wish for, as it finally allows me to spend time with family and friends on New Year’s Eve after spending most of the year alone, she said, according to a statement issued by the National Health Service (NHS).

The logistical challenges of producing and distributing tens of millions of vaccines mean that their introduction will be gradual, with the most vulnerable people and health professionals on the waiting list.

Mei Parsons, the nurse who administered the historical injection, said she was honored to be part of the program. The last few months have been difficult for all of us in the NHS, but now there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel, she said.

Britain has ordered 40 million doses of vaccine, but only 800,000 will be available in the first wave, which began Tuesday.

As vaccination requires two doses at an interval of at least three weeks, there will be enough vaccine available in the United Kingdom to vaccinate about one third of the population. The country has also ordered 7 million doses of Moderna vaccine, which could be approved for emergency use in the UK in the coming weeks.

There will be 50 vaccination centres in English hospitals and dozens more in Wales and Scotland. In England, vaccines are only administered in hospitals. Wales and Scotland have not yet indicated where they want to use the vaccine.

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Keenan should be back in three or four weeks for a second dose. On behalf of the government, each vaccinated person receives a vaccination document in the size of a credit card with the details of his or her next appointment. 7 to 10 days after the second dose he or she must be protected from the virus.

While the British vaccination program started on Tuesday with a big bang, the vaccine is still not available to the vast majority of people.

At the moment it is only on invitation for people over 80 years of age, nursing staff and advanced health and social workers. Priority was also expected to be given to nursing home residents, but the government said last week that this would not happen immediately.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine must be stored at minus 75 degrees Celsius (minus 103 degrees Fahrenheit), which makes it difficult to spread. The modern vaccine, if approved, can be a more practical option for nursing homes as it can be stored at minus 20 degrees Celsius (minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit).

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The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine provides 95% protection against Covid-19. According to the British Medicines and Drugs Regulatory Agency (MHRA), more than one in ten beneficiaries may experience side effects including gunshot wounds, headaches, muscle aches, chills, joint pain and fever. Some other, less common side effects are also mentioned.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to follow the example of the British MHRA in approving the emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine this week – its Vaccine Advisory Committee is expected to meet Thursday.

The European Medicines Agency will take a decision on the vaccine on 29 November. The European Commission will report on the results of this exercise by 31 December at the latest.

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