Jolna Sloan is being vaccinated at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast on Tuesday morning.
By Anthony Neeson
The 90-year-old woman from County Farmanag is the first woman in the world to receive the Covid-19 vaccine outside of trial conditions.
Margaret Keenan, who turns 91 next week, was found by Pfizer Zab on Tuesday morning, December 8, at the University Hospital in Coventry, England.
That morning, in Belfast, the first person to receive the vaccine in Ireland was nursing Sister Joanna Sloan from County Down. She was vaccinated at the Royal Victoria Hospital and will now roll out the vaccine at Belfast Health Trust.
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As soon as vaccination started, 25,000 doses of Pfizer / Bioentech Covid-19 vaccine arrived in Northern Ireland. Last week, the UK government became the first government to give the go-ahead for the vaccine.
Northern Health Minister Robin Swann welcomed the initial consignment that arrived last weekend.
“We have been expecting this news for many months and are very welcome to receive the first batch of vaccines today,” he said on Friday.
“I’m clear we still have a long way to go but we can be optimistic.”
Swann said that following the authorization of the Pfizer and Bioentech vaccines, “we have been able to move quickly to coordinate the arrival of the first consignment and will now be able to begin the planned roll-out early next week.”
“Vaccinators will be the first to receive the vaccine, which will be followed quickly by priority groups. We are being guided on priority by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization. It identifies care home residents and staff and health and social care workers as priority groups. Further details on the priority should be confirmed by next week.
“There are significant logistical challenges in distributing vaccines for home care. M.H.R.A. The Department of Health is actively exploring all avenues to achieve this priority objective in terms of distribution as determined by the regulatory body. “
The health minister said vaccination would be a huge, long-term, logistical challenge.
“Our growth rate is based on available supplies that will be delivered as part of a UK-wide program. Each will require two doses, several weeks in between. Roll-out will take a big part of 2021, so now we all need to be patient while waiting for our turn. “
The vaccine roll-out in the Republic is expected to begin in January.
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