Why the Queen honoured this Filipina nurse

Why the Queen honoured this Filipina nurse By A Robin - July 14, 2022
Filipina nurse May Parsons

Filipina nurse May Parsons

On December 8, 2020, May Parsons, a Filipina nurse, became the first person in the UK to administer a COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer/BioNTech) outside clinical trials.

The 17-year veteran nurse in the UKā€™s National Health Service (NHS) administered the vaccine to 90-year-old Margaret Keenan.

On Wednesday, July 13, 2022, Parsons represented UK health workers to receive the courage award from the Queen.

The Queen was accompanied by Prince Charles in honouring the representatives of NHS in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Island.

The George Cross, given at Windsor Castle on July 12, was instituted to recognise ā€œacts of the greatest heroism or the most courage in circumstances of extreme danger.ā€

Frontliners who perished from COVID-19

As of May 2020,Ā FilipinosĀ were the single-largest ethnic group toĀ dieĀ fromĀ COVID-19 in theĀ UKā€™s NHS, according to HSJ research and theĀ Filipino NursesĀ AssociationĀ UK.

In the US, nearly a third of the nurses whoā€™veĀ died of coronavirusĀ are Filipino, even thoughĀ Filipino nursesĀ make up just 4% of the nursing staff in America.

Courage, compassion

The NHS said it acknowledged the ā€œcourage, compassion, and dedicationā€ of its staff during the pandemic and their service to the public for the past 74 years.

Parsons, for her part, said the George Cross award is a recognition of the ā€œbraveryā€ and ā€œcourageā€ of National Health Service staff.

Parsons works for Respiratory Services at the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire Trust, where 90-year-old Maggie Keenan was vaccinated on December 8, 2020.

Since then, the NHS in England has delivered more than 125 million vaccinations, including 33 million boosters.

NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard, who attended the awarding, said May is ā€œone of hundreds of thousands of our fantastic members of staff that have served the country with compassion and dedication throughout the pandemic."

"The world watched when May administered the first-ever COVID vaccine outside of clinical trials to Maggie Keenan in Coventry a year-and-a-half ago, kicking off the largest and most successful vaccination program in NHS history," Pritchard said.

ā€œWe would not be where we are today without the efforts of May and countless others who went above and beyond to roll out the vaccine at speed and precision."

Parsons, meanwhile, said vaccinating Keenan with the first approved COVID-19 vaccine was a "wonderful moment that I am so proud of."

ā€œThat moment kick-started the biggest and fastest vaccination program in our history. It prevented hospital admissions, it got the country back to normal and it saved lives," she said.

ā€œAll of the staff in hospitals and our communities went above and beyond during the pandemic to look after patients despite the risks the virus posed to themselves, across health and care, staff sacrificed so much to look after those in need. The George Cross is a fitting tribute to them all.ā€

By A Robin - July 14, 2022

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