“I didn't feel a thing,” Gun-Britt Johnsson told a nurse after receiving the injection. “It feels great. I have never had any doubts about getting the jab.”
“This was truly a special moment,” Richard Bergström, Sweden's vaccine coordinator told the Expressen newspaper.
“And of course it was great that she said it didn't feel like anything. It was reassuring.”
Each of Sweden's 21 regions on Sunday received at least 200 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the symbolic start of Sweden's coronavirus vaccination programme.
Stockholm, Västra Götaland, and Skåne, the regions which are home to the three major cities of Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö received 425 each.
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Sweden on Saturday received 9,750 vaccine doses, enough to vaccinate 4,900 people.
Starting next week, the country will receive 80,000 doses a week, which will be used first to vaccinate people in elderly care homes or those who receive help at home from care workers, together with their carers and people they share a home with.
The goal is to offer vaccine's to Sweden's entire adult population in the first half of 2021.
Gun-Britt Johnsson said that she had not been warned in advance that she would be selected as the first person in Sweden to get the jab.
Gun-Britt Johnsson had an internet call with Sweden's prime minister Stefan Löfven after her injection. Photo: Stefan Jerrevång/TT
“They came into the room and asked if I wanted the jab,” she said, after being asked how it felt by Prime Minister Stefan Löfven at a digital press conference. “It was a surprise.”
In a speech to the nation uploaded onto the government's website, Löfven called the vaccine “a light in the darkness”.
“A year ago Covid-19 was unknown. Today we are starting to vaccinate against Covid-19 across the whole of Sweden and in the EU. It's top marks for science and for humanity.”
“But this doesn't mean the danger is over,” he added. “We must continue to follow the authorities' recommendations, such as holding our distance and washing hands.”
In her talk with Löfven, Johnsson said that she was glad that she would soon no longer be at risk from Covid-19 and to be able to see her grandchildren again.
“I haven't been exactly worried, but I've obviously thought about this. I'm old, you know,” she said. “I miss visits from my grandchildren, it's a little 'empty'. They used to come more often before.”
She said that all the attention she had received was “a bit of a pain”. “I'm not used to this sort of thing,” she said.
EU commission chief Ursula von der Leyen hailed the start of the European Union's vaccination campaign as a “touching moment of unity and a European success story”.
Countries are showing different strategies in their vaccination targeting, with Italy focusing on health workers, France the elderly and in the Czech Republic the prime minister himself at the front of the queue.
In a sign of impatience, some EU countries began vaccinating on Saturday, a day before the official start, with a 101-year-old woman in a care home becoming the first person in Germany to be inoculated and Hungary and Slovakia also handing out their first shots.