Brian Pinker, an 82-year-old dialysis patient has become the first to receive the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19
Mr Pinker, a retired maintenance manager received his vaccination at 7:30 GMT from Chief nurse Sam Foster at Churchill Hospital in Oxford.
Over half a million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine were made ready for use on Monday.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that it was a “pivotal moment” in the UK’s fight against the coronavirus, as vaccines will help curb infections and then allow restrictions to be lifted.
But Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said regional restrictions in England are “probably about to get tougher” as the UK struggles to control a new, fast-spreading variant of the virus.
On Sunday more than 50,000 new confirmed COVID cases were recorded in the UK for the sixth day running, prompting Labour to call for a third national lockdown in England.
Northern Ireland and Wales currently have their own lockdowns in place, while Scottish cabinet ministers will meet later to consider further measures.
The rollout comes as rows continue over whether pupils should return to school with the current high levels of COVID infections.
This comes after a 90-year-old grandmother-of-four became the first patient in the world to receive Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccination outside of a trial. Mrs Keenan, who lives in Coventry but is originally from Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, was given the vaccine by nurse May Parsons at Coventry’s University Hospital.
Six hospital trusts – in Oxford, London, Sussex, Lancashire and Warwickshire – are administering the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab on Monday, with 530,000 doses ready for use.
Most other available doses will be sent to hundreds of GP-led services and care homes across the UK later in the week, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.
Mr Pinker, who has been having dialysis for kidney disease at the Churchill Hospital for a number of years, said he was “really proud” the vaccine was developed in Oxford.
“The nurses, doctors and staff today have all been brilliant and I can now really look forward to celebrating my 48th wedding anniversary with my wife Shirley later this year,” he said.
Music teacher and father-of-three Trevor Cowlett, 88, and Prof Andrew Pollard, a paediatrician working at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, were also among the first to be vaccinated.
The Chief nurse who administered the first dose of the vaccine, Ms Foster, told the BBC it was a “huge privilege”, saying: “Every single patient that we have vaccinated over the last couple of weeks have got their own personal stories to the difference it’s going to make, so it is no different this morning.”
This comes after there are fears that some of the poorer countries in the world could be left behind as richer nations “hoard” more doses of the COVID-19 vaccines than they actually need.
Matt Hancock said on BBC Breakfast that the Oxford vaccine rollout was a “pivotal moment” in the fight against COVID-19, saying: “It’s going to be a tough few weeks ahead, but this is the way out.”
Asked about the reports that potential volunteers were being deterred by the additional training and forms, the Health Secretary said that they were in place to “reduce the amount of bureaucracy”.
“For instance there’s one of the training programmes about how to tackle terrorism, I don’t think that’s necessary, we’re going to stop that,” he said.