The United Kingdom began vaccinating people against COVID-19 Tuesday, first vaccinating a 90-year-old woman at University Hospital Coventry.
"I feel so privileged to be the first person vaccinated against COVID-19," Margaret Keenan said. "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."
Keenan's 91st birthday is next week. Health care workers in the U.K. are administering a vaccine created by U.S. company Pfizer and BioNTech, a German corporation. British officials approved use of the vaccine last week, and the country is now the first Western nation to begin vaccinating people in mass.
British officials are cautioning the population to prepare for a lengthy vaccination campaign that will not bring life back to normal right away.
"We still have a long road ahead of us, but this marks the route out," Mark Hancock, the British health secretary told the BBC.
Britain currently has enough doses to vaccinate 400,000 people. The European Union and United States reportedly are eying approval of a COVID-19 vaccine.