Exclusive

First nurse to give Covid jab says vaccine is 'best protection' people can get

7 June 2021, 07:06 | Updated: 7 June 2021, 11:09

By Lindsey Alder

The nurse who gave the first ever Covid-19 vaccine has exclusively told LBC that if you choose not to have the jab, you are gambling with your life and other people's.

May Parsons administered the Pfizer dose to 90-year-old Margaret Keenan in Coventry on 6 December, in a moment which became a message of hope to a world blighted by the virus for almost a year.

Since then, more than three quarters of UK adults have had at least one coronavirus jab but despite scientific advice, some remain convinced the vaccines are unsafe.

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May told LBC she is firmly of the opinion it is the way out of the pandemic: “People need to realise that this is the best protection they can ever get."

She added: "You can say 'oh I’ve had Covid before, I’m alright because I’ve got antibodies already' but you’re actually gambling on your life because you don’t really know how your body will react to a new variant of the virus until you get it, and then it’s too late.

May Parsons administered the Pfizer dose to 90-year-old Margaret Keenan in Coventry on 6 December
May Parsons administered the Pfizer dose to 90-year-old Margaret Keenan in Coventry on 6 December. Picture: PA
May has told told LBC she's firmly of the opinion it is the way out of the pandemic
May has told told LBC she's firmly of the opinion it is the way out of the pandemic. Picture: PA

"Or you might be okay, you might be physically fine but what about your nearest? How about your frail grandmother? Your best friend who’s got an immune suppressed child?

"I think calling to their compassionate nature is what gets people to do the right thing”.

The UK was the the first country in the world to roll out its vaccine programme and at the time Ms Keenan said she felt “so privileged” to be the first person to get a jab against the virus.

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May told LBC what she remembers of that day: “It was really surreal, looking back on it now, it hadn’t really dawned on me that it would be life-changing for everyone in the world.

"They talk about everyday courage and I think me and Margaret took that step quite seriously on that day, showing everyone that this is something that will help us through the darkest time in our history, in our lives”.

And as for Margaret herself, she's now fully vaccinated with both doses and living life to the full
And as for Margaret herself, she's now fully vaccinated with both doses and living life to the full. Picture: PA
She’s even having a giraffe named after her at Whipsnade Zoo
She’s even having a giraffe named after her at Whipsnade Zoo. Picture: PA

May has since continued her job as a matron at Coventry's University Hospital and said she still gets recognised as the nurse who gave the first jab.

On that momentous day, you might remember Ms Keenan wearing a cheery festive penguin t-shirt.

Sales of that have now raised £45,000 for the hospital's charity, which is being used to provide mental health support for staff coping with everything they have seen during the pandemic.

And as for Margaret herself, she is now fully vaccinated with both doses and living life to the full.

She is even having a giraffe named after her at Whipsnade Zoo.