World's first recipient of a Covid-19 vaccine meets giraffe calf named after her at Whipsnade Zoo

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Animal was born on the same day as grandmother Margaret Keenan received historic jab

The world’s first recipient of a Covid-19 vaccination, Margaret Keenan was treated to a unique encounter on Wednesday (May 12), when she met a giraffe calf named after her at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.

The 91-year-old from Coventry didn’t hesitate when given the chance to meet her five-month-old namesake, alongside the giraffe calf’s mum Luna and the rest of their close-knit herd.

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The reticulated giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata) was born at the UK’s largest zoo on December 8, the same day as the world’s first Covid-19 vaccination was being administered in Coventry to grandmother Margaret Keenan. Moved by the globally significant moment, giraffe keepers at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo decided to name the calf Margaret.

Margaret meets Margaret. Photo: ZSLMargaret meets Margaret. Photo: ZSL
Margaret meets Margaret. Photo: ZSL

After meeting her namesake and taking some photos of the encounter for the family to treasure, Ms Keenan spent the rest of the day exploring the 600-acre zoo with her son and members of their family.

Chief operating officer for Whipsnade, Owen Craft said: “We are so delighted that the two very special Margarets have finally been able to meet face-to-face. One is a breeding success story for an endangered species, while the other is the first person to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, but both Margarets remind us of a brighter future after a difficult year.

“It’s wonderful to be able to offer a safe and magical day-out for families like Margaret’s, where they can encounter our 3500 magnificent animals together, after so many days apart.”

Families and animal lovers can book tickets for ZSL Whipsnade Zoo at