Fact check: First UK COVID-19 vaccine recipient is not a crisis actor

Social media users have been sharing posts that claim that the first recipient of the COVID-19 vaccine in the UK is a crisis actor. This claim is false. Margaret Keenan, who received the vaccine, is a retired jewellery store assistant. Pictures in the false posts presented as evidence of the claim show other women who are visibly younger than Keenan, one of whom has different colour eyes, and there is absolutely no evidence that they are so-called crisis actors.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

The posts (here , here) show pictures of a woman receiving the vaccine, a woman being wheeled down a hospital corridor in a wheelchair, a woman outside falling to the ground and an actor’s profile on the website “Starnow”. The captions suggest all pictures show the same woman and describe her as a “crisis actor”, suggesting the event was staged. In some posts the woman in the wheelchair’s hands are circled with the suggestion gesture is a symbolic link to the Illuminati. These baseless claims are made without any supporting evidence.

Margaret Keenan became the first person in the world to be given the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine outside of a trial, at University Hospital in Coventry, England, on Dec. 8, a week before she turned 91 (here , As explained in an NHS press release and Reuters reporting here and here , Keenan retired as a jewellery store assistant four years ago. She is originally from Enniskillen in Northern Ireland but has lived in Coventry for more than 60 years.

The photos of the woman receiving the vaccine and being wheeled down the hospital corridor both show Margaret Keenan, as seen in Reuters photos here and here , as well as in this tweet by the NHS here .

The actor’s profile shared in the social media posts can be seen here . The photos on the profile and list of her physical attributes show that she has brown eyes, whereas this Reuters video here and this tweet by the NHS here show that Keenan does not have brown eyes. The photos and videos above show a woman who looks noticeably younger than Keenan. There is no evidence to suggest this woman is a crisis actor.

The photo of a woman falling down was taken in London on Sept. 26, 2020 at a protest against vaccination and government coronavirus restrictions, including mask wearing and taking tests for the virus (here , here) . The woman in the photo, whose face can be seen more clearly here appears to be much younger than Keenan and is also protesting against vaccinations, which Keenan clearly supports. There is no evidence to suggest that the woman in this picture is a crisis actor.


False. Margaret Keenan, the first recipient of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is a retired jewellery shop assistant, not a crisis actor.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .