THE woman who became the first person to have her Covid vaccine last December has urged all Brits to come forward and get vaccinated.
Margaret Keenan received the Pfizer/BioNTech jab on December 8 last year and said it was the 'best Christmas present' she had.
The 91-year-old has now had two vaccines as well as her booster dose and her flu shot in order to protect her over the winter months.
The mum-of-two and grandmother-of-four said the moment she had her vaccine at University Hospital Coventry "felt great".
She said: "It felt great, honestly, I could not believe that things went so well, afterwards.
"At the time I wasn't feeling good but once I got that jab and things started to be better, so I had a wonderful year – thanks to the NHS."
Now a year on, Maggie said she is "amazed" at the number of people who don't want their jabs.
"I don't know why because they should have it… everybody should have the jab.
"I keep saying this over and over again," she added.
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It comes as:
- Boosters are the best way to protect you and your loved ones – with early data showing they help beat Omicron
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- The WHO says vaccines 'should' work against Omicron – with disease less severe
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So far in the UK 51.1 million Brits have had a first dose of a Covid jab, 46.5 million have had a second and 20.9 million have also had a booster.
Maggie's plea for more Brits to come forward for their jabs comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed that millions more Brits will be able to book their booster vaccines from today.
Health chiefs have cut the gap between second and third doses from six to three months.
In a bid to speed up rollout, the NHS will allow adults to secure their booster slot a month in advance.
It means all over-40s who had their second jab earlier than October 8 can now nab a vaccine appointment on the national booking service from today.
Officials said it will gradually open up to younger Brits later in the month.
Health bosses have pledged to offer booster doses to all adults by the end of January in a bid to tackle the Omicron variant threat.
The vaccines do work, they're very effective and the way to make them even more effective is to get that booster dose
This morning NHS England's national medical director said it wasn't yet clear how often boosters would need to be rolled out in the future.
Professor Stephen Powis said it was 'even more critical' that Brits come forward and get their booster jabs and vaccines in the face of the Omicron variant.
He told Good Morning Britain: "It's too early to say how frequently boosters might be given in the future.
"But what we know is that booster dose gives you a much higher level of antibodies in the blood – those are the antibodies that will neutralise the virus."
Prof Powis explained that boosters are important as it's not yet clear if Omicron will reduce the effectiveness of vaccines.
He added: "But that can be countered by the booster because that boosts the antibodies and gives you your protection back again. So, even more critical than it was a few weeks ago to get that booster dose".
"The key message for everybody: The vaccines do work, they're very effective and the way to make them even more effective is to get that booster dose."
BOOK YOUR JAB
All eligible adults can now book their life-saving booster jab two months (61 days) after their second dose using the NHS national booking system.
It means they can then get their top-up in protection three months (91 days) on from their second dose.
There are almost 3,000 vaccination sites across the country, with an additional 300 pharmacies coming online in recent weeks as the programme ramps up.
Hundreds of hospitals are already jabbing their staff and have now been asked to vaccinate other local NHS workers, eligible patients, and social care staff as well as the programme expands
Around 30 hospitals are already offering jabs to the public through the national booking service with more set to open.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Millions of people over the age of 40 in England will be able to pre-book their booster jab two months after their second dose, a month ahead of them becoming eligible for their top up vaccine.
“We are halving the gap that people have to wait to get their booster to three months – prioritising those most at risk of serious illness and strengthening our collective defences in light of the Omicron variant, as this virus goes on the advance this winter."
It comes as the spread of Omicron could force Boris Johnson to trigger Plan B within days, prompting fears that Christmas could be left in chaos for a second year.
Scientists yesterday said the new Covid strain seems to be three times more infectious than previous variants.
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