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A 90-Year-Old British Grandma Is the First Person In the West to Receive a Covid-19 Vaccine Outside Clinical Trials

Last week, the UK became the first Western nation to approve the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.

This story originally appeared on Business Insider

A 90-year-old British grandmother of four has become the first person in the West to receive a COVID-19 vaccine outside clinical trials.

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At 6:31 a.m. local time on Tuesday at University Hospital in the English city of Coventry, Margaret Keenan was given her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.

Keenan, who turns 91 next week, said she felt "so privileged" to take the vaccine, according to the UK National Health Service.

"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," she said, according to the NHS.

The UK began its massive rollout to vaccinate its citizens less than a week after the country's drug regulator approved Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine. It's the first Western country both to approve and to then administer a vaccine designed to prevent the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

The regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, said the decision to approve the vaccine came after "months of rigorous clinical trials and a thorough analysis of the data by experts at the MHRA who have concluded that the vaccine has met its strict standards of safety, quality, and effectiveness."

The UK has ordered about 40 million doses, enough for 20 million people to be vaccinated with the two-dose shot. Officials have said healthcare workers and members of society considered most vulnerable to severe illness will get top priority.

The vaccine was found in its late-stage trial to prevent people from getting sick with COVID-19, but it's unclear whether it prevents transmission of the coronavirus, so masks, social distancing, and other mitigation strategies will still be needed while the vaccine is rolled out.

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