A 90-year-old grandmother has become the first person in the world to receive a Covid-19 vaccine outside of a trial.
Margaret Keenan received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at about 6.45am at her local hospital in Coventry in England.
Originally from Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, she has lived in Coventry for more than 60 years.
She will receive a booster jab in 21 days to ensure she has the best chance of being protected against the virus.
Ms Keenan, who turns 91 next week, is a former jewellery shop assistant who only retired four years ago.
She has a daughter, a son, and four grandchildren.
"I feel so privileged to be the first person vaccinated against Covid-19," Ms Keenan said.
"It's the best early birthday present I could wish for because it means 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.
"I can't thank May and the NHS staff enough who have looked after me tremendously, and my advice to anyone offered the vaccine is to take it - if I can have it at 90 then you can have it too."
Margaret Keenan, a 90-year-old grandmother, has become the first person in the world to receive a Covid-19 vaccine outside of a trial. She received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at her local hospital in Coventry. | Read more: https://t.co/IQX2uVFX5y pic.twitter.com/9kuwKive53— RTÉ News (@rtenews) December 8, 2020
Ms Keenan has been self-isolating for most of this year and is planning on having a very small family "bubble" Christmas to keep safe.
Fantastic to see Enniskillen woman, Margaret, receive the first vaccine this morning! The rollout starts today in Northern Ireland and across the rest of the country - supplied by the U.K. Government & administered by our brilliant NHS. #VDay https://t.co/QAFTpAitP3— Brandon Lewis (@BrandonLewis) December 8, 2020
NHS nurse May Parsons said it was a "huge honour" to be the first in the country to deliver the vaccine to a patient.
Speaking at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, she said: "It's a huge honour to be the first person in the country to deliver a Covid-19 jab to a patient, I'm just glad that I'm able to play a part in this historic day.
"The last few months have been tough for all of us working in the NHS, but now it feels like there is light at the end of the tunnel."
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine would help the country overcome the virus, but it would be a long process before it was totally defeated.
"It will gradually make a huge, huge difference. But I stress gradually, because we're not there yet. We haven't defeated this virus yet," he said..
The phased vaccination programme in the UK will see patients aged 80 and above who are already attending hospital as an outpatient, and those who are being discharged home after a hospital stay, among the first to receive the life-saving jab.
Care home providers are also being asked by the UK's Department of Health and Social Care to begin booking staff in to vaccination clinics.
GPs are also expected to be able to begin vaccinating care home residents.
Any appointments not used for these groups will be used for healthcare workers who are at highest risk of serious illness from Covid-19.
Health chiefs have set out how they will deliver the mammoth task ahead, using hospital hubs, vaccination centres and other community locations, as well as GP practices and pharmacies.
Today the first vaccinations in the UK against COVID-19 begin. 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. https://t.co/poOYG1vHQe— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) December 8, 2020
The vaccine is typically delivered by a simple injection in the shoulder but there is a complex logistical challenge to deliver from the manufacturers to patients.
It needs to be stored at -70C before being thawed out and can only be moved four times within that cold chain ahead of use.
Britain's Health Minister Matt Hancock said the start of the roll out of Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine meant there was "finally" a "way through" the coronavirus crisis.
Speaking on Sky News, he said: "I'm feeling quite emotional actually watching those pictures. It has been such a tough year for so many people and finally we have our way through it - our light at the end of the tunnel as so many people are saying.
"And just watching Margaret there - it seems so simple having a jab in your arm, but that will protect Margaret and it will protect the people around her.
"And if we manage to do that in what is going to be one of the biggest programmes in NHS history, if we manage to do that for everybody who is vulnerable to this disease then we can move on."
Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster said she is delighted that the first person in the world to receive a coronavirus vaccination outside clinical trials is from her native Co Fermanagh.
Speaking to reporters in Enniskillen, Ms Foster said: "Also delighted that here in Northern Ireland we have had the first vaccinations take place.
"We are now on our pathway out of Covid-19 and this dreadful pandemic which has had such an impact on everybody here in Northern Ireland.
"This is a very good day and we look forward to the vaccination being rolled out right across Northern Ireland."