Pinoy Abroad

Fil-Brit nurse who gave world’s first COVID-19 vaccine jab visits alma mater UST

By GMA News

May Parsons, the Filipino-British nurse who administered the first COVID-19 vaccine shot outside of clinical trials, has returned to the Philippines for a visit.

According to a report on “24 Oras” on Monday, Parsons paid a visit to the University of Santo Tomas, where she received her nursing degree in 2000. She also worked at the UST hospital before moving to the UK, where she worked for the National Health Service (NHS).

In December 2020, Parsons administered the first COVID-19 vaccine dose

—a Pfizer-BioNTech jab—outside clinical trials, to then-90 year-old Margaret Keenan in London.

Last month, on  behalf of the NHS, Parsons received the George Cross from Queen Elizabeth II herself. It is the highest civilian award bestowed by the British government, given for "acts of the greatest heroism or of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger."


At UST, Parsons urged the government to address the wide disparity between the salaries of nurses in the Philippines and the UK, in order to lessen the number of health workers leaving the country.

She also said that while working in the healthcare sector has never been easy, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic, her strong Thomasian and Filipino values helped her get through the challenges.

“Going to work literally felt like going to war. But the difference is I cannot see my opponent and there was nothing I could do to stop them. I thought about what I can give and due to help. And as a Filipino Thomasian nurse, no work is above me. If I can help in any way, say perform, I will do it,” she added. — Sundy Locus/BM, GMA News