UK First Country to Approve Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
This is excellent news for the UK, and we currently have 10M doses which should be available for widespread use starting with the first vaccines taking place as early as next week, with the first 800,000 arriving in the UK in the next few days. The UK has already ordered 40M doses, which is enough to vaccinate 20M people. The UK is the first in the world to have a clinically approved vaccine for supply. Each person will require 2 doses of the vaccine, requiring three weeks between doses.
Pfizer’s manufacturing site in Puurs, Belgium, is being used for European supply. The vaccine will be delivered by planes, Pfizer has already ruled out ocean transport due to timings.
The company has created special suit-cased size containers fitted with temperature and GPS trackers to ship the vaccine. Once the vaccine supply arrives in the UK it will undergo quality checks to ensure it has been shipped safely.
The Pfizer shots must be stored at minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit, far colder than standard cooling systems. To help accommodate the extra refrigeration requirement, Pfizer has developed a storage unit packed with dry ice.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted “It’s the protection of vaccines that will ultimately allow us to reclaim our lives and get the economy moving again”.
The MHRA who covers Healthcare products has formally authorised the vaccine which has a 95% efficacy rate and confirmed it was safe to be rolled out.
Matt Hancock the Health Secretary, said: “The NHS stands ready to start vaccinating early next week”. “People will be contacted by the NHS when it is their turn for the jab”. Matt said, “I am confident now with the news today that from spring, from Easter onwards, things are going to be better and we are going to have a summer next year that everyone can enjoy”. Sir Simon Stevens, the NHS Chief Executive said: “the health service was preparing for the largest-scale vaccination campaign in our country’s history”.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) will be publishing advice for those priority groups who will receive the vaccine, such as care home residents, health and care staff, the elderly and the vulnerable.
The NHS has many years of experience of delivering large scale vaccination programmes and will start their extensive preparations into action to all those eligible for the vaccination. For the success of the vaccination programme, it is vital that everyone plays their part and abide by the rules in their areas to allow the NHS to work without becoming overwhelmed.
Nearly 1.5 million people around the world have died from the virus, with more than 271,000 deaths in the U.S. and nearly 60,000 deaths in the U.K.