The nurse who made history for being the first health care worker to administer the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is a Filipino migrant.
May Parsons administered the first vaccine with a reported 95% efficacy to 90-year-old Margaret Keenan, who became the first patient in history to receive it.
The clinical trial tests for this vaccine ended last November. Britain became the first country in the world to approve it for use and immediate rollout.
Parsons, who has been working for the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) for 24 years, was quoted by the Irish Times as saying that it was an honor for her to part of history.
“I’m just glad that I’m able to play a part in this historic day. The last few months have been tough for all of us working in the NHS, but now it feels like there is light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.
In another interview, Keenan thanked Parsons and the rest of the NHS staff for taking good care of her.
“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!” she said.
The patient also described being given the vaccine as an early birthday present.
“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,” she said.
The social media account of the NHS shared a video clip on December 8 of Keenan being cheered at by health workers.
'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!' pic.twitter.com/mlIwvp6g0f
— NHS England and NHS Improvement (@NHSEngland) December 8, 2020
In a tweet, UK Ambassador to the Philippines Daniel Pruce also praised Parsons as among the Filipino health workers in UK who have made “enormous contribution” to the NHS.
“A fantastic moment! And great to see that the vaccine is administered by Nurse May Parsons from the Philippines—one of the many thousands of Filipino healthcare workers making such an enormous contribution to the NHS,” Pruce said.
A fantastic moment! And great to see that the vaccine is administered by Nurse May Parsons from the Philippines – one of the many thousands of Filipino healthcare workers making such an enormous contribution to the #NHS https://t.co/t1T5Wy8IzO
— Daniel Pruce 🇬🇧 (@DanielPruce) December 8, 2020
Parsons also earned praises from Filipinos online. Some, however, couldn’t help but compare the treatment of health workers in Britain to the Philippines.
They hoped that the Philippine government could learn to appreciate Filipino health workers in the country in the future.