Annie Lynch, a 79-year-old grandmother of 10, has become the first person in the Republic of Ireland to receive the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine.
Lynch, a native of Dublin, received her jab at St. James’s Hospital in Dublin alongside healthcare workers from the hospital who were also vaccinated today, December 29.
Lynch said: “I feel very privileged to be the first person in Ireland to receive the vaccine.
"Like everyone else, I have been waiting for the vaccine and I really feel like there is a bit of hope there now.
"It’s brilliant that it’s here. Everything was explained very clearly to me beforehand.”
A momentous & historical day! St James's honoured to vaccinate the first patient in Ireland, Annie Lynch, against COVID-19. Thanks to #SJH vaccinator, @dodea2011 #protectyourself #savelives #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/uJP24WvERB— St James's Hospital (@stjamesdublin) December 29, 2020
Also on Tuesday, Bernie Waterhouse, Clinical Nurse Manager at St. James's Hospital, became the first healthcare worker in the Republic of Ireland to receive the vaccine.
Waterhouse said: “I wanted to get the vaccine to protect myself, and the people I work with and care for every day, from Covid-19.”
Colm Hand of RTE News shared this video of Lynch and Waterhouse receiving their jabs from nurse Deborah O'Dea.
In the video, O'Dea tells Lynch, "Not a bother on ya - well done!" before adding, “I feel so honored that I’ve done that."
After receiving the vaccine, each person was given a vaccine record card, showing the name and batch of the vaccine they have received. They will each return for their second dose, to be fully protected, in three weeks.
According to Ireland's Health Service Executive (HSE), Lynch's vaccine today was the first Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to be administered by vaccinators at four hospitals across Ireland – St James’s Hospital and Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, Cork University Hospital, and University Hospital Galway.
The Pfizer / BioNTech coronavirus vaccine was approved for use across the European Union on December 21. The vaccines given today, December 29, were from the first delivery of 10,000 doses received by the HSE in Ireland on December 26.
Paul Reid, the CEO of the HSE, said that "a great beacon of light starts to shine" with the beginning of vaccinations in Ireland today:
Today, a great beacon of light starts to shine, as we commence our vaccination programme. Let's all galvanise and unite behind this. It will take time but stay positive, stay safe, stick with us and we will get there. @HSELive #COVID19— Paul Reid (@paulreiddublin) December 29, 2020
Stephen Donnelly, Ireland’s Minister for Health, said that Lynch’s vaccination today begins “a new and hopeful chapter in our fight against Covid-19.”
It’s been the most difficult year for our country. But thanks to the efforts of so many, today we begin to vaccinate the vulnerable and our front line healthcare workers. Starting with Annie, today we begin a new and hopeful chapter in our fight against Covid-19. 🙏👏 https://t.co/gDKWwebhCE— Stephen Donnelly (@DonnellyStephen) December 29, 2020
Previously approved for use within the United Kingdom, Co Fermanagh native Margaret Keenan became the first person in the world to receive the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine when she received her jab in Coventry on December 8. That same day, Co Down nurse Joanna Sloan became the first person in Northern Ireland, and the first person on the island of Ireland, to receive the vaccine.