Finally, after nearly a year since the first confirmed Covid-19 case in the UK, vaccination day is upon us!
The UK recently approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to be used in the UK signalling the beginning of the end of the Coronavirus pandemic. This vaccine has met the strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness that is set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and from this week will begin the biggest immunisation programme the UK has ever seen.
The vaccine will first be made available to people who live in care homes and care home workers. People over the age of 80 and the health and social care workers in England are also expected to be at the front of the queue, although the final decision on this is still to be approved by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. For more information on who will get a vaccine and when, take a look at this BBC report and simple diagram: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-55045639
The NHS stress that they will let you know when it’s your turn to have the vaccine. It’s important not to contact the NHS for a vaccination before then.
Rolling the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine comes with logistical challenges as it needs to be stored at -70c. Therefore it is being delivered to hospital hubs around the country where they have the facilities to ensure the correct storage. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government was doing everything it could to overcome “significant challenges” to ensure care home residents were vaccinated as soon as possible. It is reported that the army may be drafted in to ensure the vaccines are transported and distributed efficiently in response to concerns a no-deal Brexit could cause delays in getting the vaccine into the UK.
It is also believed that we are just weeks away from a second vaccine being approved in the UK. The Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine may be approved for use as soon as Christmas. Britain has ordered 100million doses to be available by April. This is also very welcome news as this vaccine can be stored and transported more easily.
After a dark year of restrictions and isolation, there is finally light at the end of the tunnel!