The nurse who administered the world’s first Covid-19 vaccination said she was “very proud to say to everyone I am a Filipino-Briton making history”.
May Parsons, who has been working for the NHS since immigrating from the Philippines 17 years ago, said the start of the vaccination rollout on Tuesday was a “massive historical event”.
She has been widely praised by British and Filipino politicians after she gave 90-year-old grandmother Margaret Keenan the first coronavirus vaccination outside of a clinical trial.
Speaking afterwards, she told Good Morning Britain: “I am really glad to be telling all the Filipinos, in this country and everywhere in the world, we can make a difference and we do offer positive contributions to humanity, as it were.
“I think it is a historical event for Filipinos all across the globe for making sure that we are proud of what we have achieved and what we contribute to everyone and the care we give.”
Ms Parsons said she has had “lots of practice” administering vaccinations during her 24-year nursing career.
Teddy Locsin Jr, the Philippines’ secretary of foreign affairs, said he was “so proud” of Ms Parsons.
Filipino healthcare workers have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic and the PA news agency has verified the names of 26 frontline medical staff, of known Filipino heritage, who have died.
@DFAPHL The very first COVID vaccine (Pfizer) was given to a patient in the UK, administered by a Filipino nurse, May Parsons, who has worked in the NHS for 24 years. NOW THAT'S HOW TO GET INTERNATIONAL GOODWILL without our taxes paying for it. Thank you, May, so proud of you.
— Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) December 8, 2020
There have been calls for better protection, as it was claimed in May that more workers of Filipino heritage had died working in the UK health and care system during the coronavirus crisis than in the Philippines.
Foreign Office minister Nigel Adams said: “Great to see Matron May Parsons, originally from #Philippines deliver world’s first vaccine shot.
“Our NHS is proud to have such dedicated health workers.”
Daniel Pruce, the British ambassador to the Philippines, said this morning was a “fantastic moment”.
He tweeted: “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.”
The British Embassy in Manila added: “We salute all the Filipino frontliners in the UK, Philippines and around the world.”