First British citizens receive Covid-19 vaccine

The UK began vaccinating its citizens against the coronavirus on Tuesday. Ninety-year-old Margaret Keenan was the first person to receive the vaccine produced by Biontech and Pfizer. She called on her fellow citizens to also take part in the largest vaccination programme in the country's history. European media share their views on the pioneering role of the Brexit nation.

Open/close all quotes
Hospodářské noviny (CZ) /

Avant-garde guinea pigs

Hospodářské noviny is glad that the British have taken the lead here:

“In a way, the British are guinea pigs in the eyes of the West. They may play a crucial role in deciding whether the greatest scientific, industrial, and logistical operation humankind has ever undertaken to save itself fails or succeeds. In the coming weeks we can expect reports from British hospitals and retirement homes and detailed analysis of any problems with the vaccine. Fortunately, Britain has had this kind of experience before. After all, the British were the first to have a parliament, invent the steam engine, and witness the first television broadcast in history.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Good for Britain's post-Brexit image

The start of the vaccination programme will boost Britain's self-confidence, La Repubblica surmises:

“Britain must now go its own way in a world more or less devastated by Covid-19 - outside the bloc, which it can no longer look to as a refuge. ... Given that the initial phase of the pandemic saw many (fatal) mistakes, more than in any other European state, the UK needed to restore its reputation as a centre of innovation, efficiency and firm commitment. It had to do its utmost to escape the old accusation that it is reverting to its small-island status. And rather than casting itself as a nation with the ambitions of an imperial superpower, it had to come across as a European state that has something to offer the world - and its citizens.”