Coronavirus UK news – Vaccine 'V-day' arrives as 90-year-old becomes 1st Brit to get Pfizer covid jab – LIVE UPDATES

THE UK has taken a "huge step forward" in its fight against Covid-19 as ourvaccination programme got under way, Boris Johnson has said.

Margaret Keenan, 90, was applauded by staff this morning after becoming the first person in the United Kingdom to receive the Pfizer/BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine.

Speaking from University Hospital, Coventry, Margaret said: "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!"

Vaccinations will be administered at dozens of hospital hubs across the country this morning – dubbed "V-Day" by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

The Prime Minister said he was "immensely proud" of the scientists who have developed the new jab and praised NHS staff for working "tirelessly" to make the vaccine rollout happen.

Patients in the highest risk groups – such as the over 80s – will begin receiving the vaccine today.

Follow our coronavirus live blog below for the very latest news, reaction and updates on the lockdown plans…

  • Britta Zeltmann

    VALLANCE: 'TREMENDOUS DAY'

    Sir Patrick Vallance said the news that the first person has received the newly approved Covid-19 jab is "not about vaccine nationalism".

    Speaking to Sky News, the Government's chief scientific adviser said: "It's a really tremendous day."

    But he added: "It's important to recognise that the vaccine effort has been a global one – there are countries and scientists everywhere trying to make vaccines and it looks like lots are going to be successful, which is the really good news about this."

    He added: "This isn't about vaccine nationalism."

  • Britta Zeltmann

    'WE'RE NOT OUT OF THIS YET'

    Prof Stephen Powis, national medical director of NHS England, said it was important people continued following coronavirus-related rules despite the start of a Covid vaccination programme.

    Appearing on BBC Breakfast, he said: "We're not out of this yet. It's winter, it's cold. We've still got January, February, the rest of December ahead of us – tough times for the NHS.

    "It's really important that we keep socially distancing, we keep sticking by those rules that we've all been sticking with, because we need to get through the next few months to get to the point where sufficient people have been vaccinated that we can start to relax those rules."

  • Britta Zeltmann

    A ROUND OF APPLAUSE FOR MAGGIE

    Margaret Keenan, 90, was applauded by staff this morning after becoming the first person in the United Kingdom to receive the Pfizer/BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine.

    Speaking from University Hospital, Coventry, Margaret said: "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!"

    Credit: PA:Press Association
  • Britta Zeltmann

    'TRULY HISTORIC DAY'

    The gran who became the first person in the world to receive the Pfizer vaccine made it a "truly historic day", the national medical director of NHS England has said.

    Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Professor Stephen Powis said: "It was really, really emotional, I can't tell you just how much emotion there was in that vaccination centre.

    "This is a truly historic day, a turning point in this pandemic, another world-first for the NHS, the start of the largest vaccination programme in our history."

  • Britta Zeltmann

    HANCOCK ON LIFTING RESTRICTIONS

    Matt Hancock this morning urged people to continue to obey the coronavirus restrictions despite the rollout of a vaccine.

    He told Sky News: "It's great news that we are the first country in the world to have this clinically authorised and being able to roll out this programme.

    "And when enough people who are vulnerable to Covid-19 have been vaccinated then, of course, we can lift the restrictions … we think that will be in the spring."

    He added: "It is no good everybody relaxing now – we've got to hold firm until the vaccination programme has reached enough vulnerable people so that we don't have people dying from coronavirus in the number that we do today."

  • Mark Hodge

    MAGGIE CELEBRATES

    The grandmother who became the first Brit to get the Covid vaccine has celebrated with a cup of tea.

    Margaret Keenan, 90, said she wasn't nervous getting the jab but admits she thought officials were "joking" when they said she would be the first person to get it, ITV reports.

    According to reporter Emily Morgan, Margaret celebrated the historic moment with a cup of tea and encouraged everyone to get vaccinated.

  • Mark Hodge

    HISTORIC MOMENT

    The NHS has become the first health service in the world to begin rolling out Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine.

    Grandmother Margaret Keenan, 90, received the jab at about 6.45am in Coventry this morning, marking the start of an historic mass vaccination programme.

    Jabs will be administered at dozens of hospital hubs across the country from Tuesday – dubbed "V-Day" by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

    Mrs Keenan, who turns 91 next week, received the jab from nurse May Parsons at her local hospital.

    She is a former jewellery shop assistant who only retired four years ago.

    Mrs Keenan said: "I feel so privileged to be the first person vaccinated against Covid-19, 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."

  • Mark Hodge

    BOGUS CLAIMS

    AROUND a quarter of Brits believe conspiracy theories about the coronavirus and Covid-19 vaccines, experts have warned.

    This comes as the UK begins to roll out its vaccination programme this week to beat the killer disease.

    A survey in Britain last month showed that almost two-thirds of people would get vaccinated – however many expressed unease at the speed at which companies have developed the drugs to tackle it.

    Some also believe unfounded claims spread online, including that the pandemic was fabricated by governments to control people or that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates wanted to use vaccines to insert trackable microchips into people.

    “What we’re finding is, in the wake of the pandemic, that conspiracy beliefs may have gone mainstream, that they’re no longer confined to the fringes,” Daniel Freeman, Professor of Clinical Psychology at Oxford University said.

    “Around a quarter (of Britain’s population) are entertaining such thoughts.

    "Another quarter are consistently thinking in terms of conspiracy beliefs, and around one in 10 people seem to have a very high rate of endorsement of conspiracy beliefs.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    EQUALITY CAMPAIGNER, 87, DELIGHTED TO BE AMONG FIRST PATIENTS TO GET VACCINE

    An 87-year-old race relations campaigner has said he is "delighted to be doing my bit" as he prepares to become one of the first people in the world to get the Covid-19 vaccine.

    Dr Hari Shukla, from Tyne and Wear, will receive the Pfizer jab at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle at 8am along with his wife Ranjan after getting a call from his doctor last week.

    The grandfather-of-nine, who has a "Local Hero" plaque in his honour on the city's quayside, said: "I'm so pleased we are hopefully coming towards the end of this pandemic and I am delighted to be doing my bit by having the vaccine.

    "I feel it is my duty to do so and do whatever I can to help."

    Dr Shukla, who was made an MBE in 2003 and a CBE in 2016, played an important role improving race relations in the North East as director of the Tyne and Wear Racial Equality Council.

  • Joseph Gamp

    COVID JAB ‘ID’ COULD ‘DISCRIMINATE’ AGAINST PEOPLE WHO DON’T GET VACCINE

    A Covid vaccine ID card could be used to “discriminate” against Brits who don’t get the jab, MPs have warned.

    Pictures of the Covid cards have been released this morning, ahead of the first round of jabs set to start tomorrow.

    Deputy Chair of the Covid Recovery Group Steve Baker told The Sun: “Ministers must decide whether they are content for businesses to discriminate on the basis of vaccination status.

    “If they are not, they may have to legislative.”

    Click here to read more

  • Joseph Gamp

    INTERACTIVE MAP: LONDON'S COVID INFECTION RATES

  • Joseph Gamp

    LONDON COULD GO INTO TIER 3 FROM NEXT WEEK

    LONDONERS could be plunged into Tier 3 a WEEK before Christmas as infections continue to rise across the capital.

    The capital is now higher than many Tier 3 areas with more than 15,000 people testing positive in the past week and cases growing in 21 of the city's 32 boroughs.

    Read more here.

  • Joseph Gamp

    INTERACTIVE MAP: ENGLAND TIERS FOLLOWING LOCKDOWN 2

  • Joseph Gamp

    V-DAY TO MARK 'DECISIVE TURNING POINT' IN BATTLE AGAINST COVID-19 – NHS CHIEF

    The beginning of the vaccination rollout for Covid-19 could mark "a decisive turning point in the battle" against the virus, the chief executive of NHS England has said.

    Vaccinations will be administered at dozens of hospital hubs from Tuesday – dubbed "V-Day" by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

    People aged 80 and older, care home workers and NHS workers who are at higher risk are at the front of the queue for the jabs.

    Speaking just hours before the vaccine rollout begins, Sir Simon Stevens said: "Tomorrow is the beginning of the biggest vaccination campaign in our history, building on successes from previous campaigns against conditions: diseases like polio, meningitis, and tuberculosis.

    "Hospitals, and then GPs and pharmacists as more vaccine becomes available, are going to be vaccinating at least until next spring. So in the meantime, we're going to have to continue to be very careful. But if we do that I think there's every chance that we will look back on tomorrow as marking a decisive turning point in the battle against coronavirus."

  • Joseph Gamp

    BRAZIL'S COVID DEATH TOLL PASSES 177,000

    Brazil reported 20,371 additional confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, and 376 deaths from COVID-19, its Health Ministry said on Monday.

    The South American country has now registered 6,623,911 cases since the pandemic began, while its official death toll has risen to 177,317, according to ministry data.

    Brazil has the world's third worst outbreak after the United States and India

  • Joseph Gamp

    COVID-19 VACCINE COULD BE A 'REQUIREMENT' FOR SOME HOSPITAL STAFF – WHO EXPERTS

    World Health Organisation experts have suggested they would support the coronavirus vaccination becoming "a requirement" for hospital workers.

    The WHO's immunisation director, Professor Kate O'Brien, told a WHO press conference there "may be some countries where there are professional circumstances where it would be required to be vaccinated", specifying "certain jobs in hospitals".

    Her comments were reinforced by Dr Michael Ryan, director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme.

    This comes after assurances by Prime Minister Boris Johnson that coronavirus vaccines would "absolutely" be rolled out on a voluntary basis to everyone in the UK, including health and social care workers.

    Prof O'Brien said on Monday: "There may be some countries, or some situations in countries, where there are professional circumstances where it would be required to be vaccinated, or it would be highly recommended to be vaccinated.

  • Joseph Gamp

    WATCH: SWEDEN FINALLY FACING LOCKDOWN

    Sweden finally facing lockdown as it suffers TWICE the number of Covid cases than Britain or Spain per capita

  • Joseph Gamp

    ENGLAND: 190 NEW HOSPITAL DEATHS, TOTAL NOW 42,579

    A further 190 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals to 42,579, NHS England said today.

    Patients were aged between 49 and 100. All except five, aged between 50 and 77, had known underlying health conditions.

    The deaths were between November 2 and December 6.

    One other death was reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.

  • Joseph Gamp

    GRAPH: UK COVID DEATHS AND CASES PER DAY

  • Joseph Gamp

    US RECORDS MORE THAN 174,000 NEW COVID CASES -TOTAL NOW 14 MILLION

    The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has today reported 14,636,914 cases of the new coronavirus.

    It was an increase of 174,387 from its previous count Saturday.

    The number of deaths had risen by 1,118 to 281,253.

    The CDC reported its tally of cases as of 4 pm ET on December 6 versus its previous report a day earlier.

  • Joseph Gamp

    WATCH: MATT HANCOCK HAILS V DAY AHEAD OF VACCINATIONS LAUNCH

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock hails V Day ahead of the start of Covid-19 vaccinations

  • Joseph Gamp

    IRELAND: NO FURTHER COVID-19 RELATED DEATHS – BUT MORE THAN 200 NEW CASES

    No further Covid-19 related deaths were reported in Ireland today.

    The national toll remains at 2,099.

    However, a further 242 confirmed cases of the virus were announced by Nphet.

    Of the latest cases, 76 were in Dublin, 27 in Donegal, 22 in Kilkenny, 16 in Galway, 14 in Louth and the remaining 87 were spread across 18 other counties.

    As of 2pm on Monday, there were 223 patients with Covid-19 in Irish hospitals, of which 28 were in ICU.

  • Joseph Gamp

    HANCOCK SAYS THERE IS 'LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL'

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweeted: "As we begin rolling-out the first coronavirus vaccine tomorrow across the UK, I want to thank everyone working tirelessly on this.

    "We are not there yet but there is light at the end of the tunnel".

  • Joseph Gamp

    FRANCE RECORDS 3,411 NEW COVID CASES IN 24 HOURS

    French health authorities on Monday reported 3,411 new COVID-19 infections over the past 24 hours, sharply down from Sunday's 11,022.

    The Monday figures tend to dip as there are fewer tests conducted on Sundays.

    The seven-day moving average of new infections, which averages out weekly data reporting irregularities, stood at 10,489.

    France's cumulative number of cases now totals 2,295,908, the fifth-highest tally in the world

  • Joseph Gamp

    WATCH: UK DEATHS AT LOWEST IN THREE WEEKS

    UK Covid deaths at lowest for three weeks as 189 more die and another 14,718 test positive

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