LONDON (Reuters) – Britain on Wednesday marked a year since the world’s first person received a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine outside of a clinical trial, urging people to get a booster shot. as soon as they qualify.
On December 8, 2020, Margaret Keenan, a 90-year-old grandmother known to her friends as Maggie, became the first person to receive the injection following clinical approval, describing it as “the best thing that has ever happened.” .
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has highlighted Britain’s early success in rolling out a COVID-19 vaccine and said that’s why Britain can reopen its economy in July.
He has called for another vaccination effort for the booster program on a similar scale to the initial rollout because of concerns about the new Omicron variant, which has also seen him reintroduce a number of duties on masks and travel restrictions.
“Since the first shot was delivered a year ago, our extraordinary vaccine deployment has saved hundreds of thousands of lives,” Johnson said in a statement.
“Vaccines are still our first and best line of defense against viruses – so the best way to continue to protect yourself and your loved ones is to join a vaccine program and increase as soon as you qualify.”
The UK has now provided nearly 120 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, in the form of a first, second or booster dose.
Scientists are concerned that Omicron may be more transmissible than the Delta variant that currently dominates and has mutations associated with lower vaccine effectiveness.
Health Minister Sajid Javid has said that the booster should continue to provide good protection against severe illness even if the Omicron shots are less effective than previous variants.
“We are working around the clock to step up our enhancement program to maximize immunity following the emergence of the Omicron variant,” said Javid.
(Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Mark Heinrich)
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