The UK is getting ready for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine launch this week
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Pfizer logo can be seen at the entrance to the Pfizer factory in Puurs
LONDON (Reuters) – The UK is preparing to be the first country to launch the Pfizer / BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine this week. The vaccine will first be made available in hospitals before the stocks are distributed to medical clinics, the government said on Sunday.
The first doses are due to be given on Tuesday, with the National Health Service (NHS) making vaccination of those over 80, frontline health workers, and nursing home workers and residents a top priority.
Great Britain issued the emergency permit for the from Pfizer (NYSE 🙂 and BioNTech last week – in the global race for the most important mass vaccination program in history.
Great Britain has ordered a total of 40 million cans. Since every person needs two doses, that is enough to vaccinate 20 million people in the country of 67 million.
Approximately 800,000 doses are expected to be available in the first week.
First cans that have arrived from Belgium will be kept in safe locations across the country where they will undergo quality control, according to the Ministry of Health.
The launch coincides with a crucial and dangerous moment in the UK-European Union negotiations on a post-Brexit trade deal.
A transition period to the status quo ends on December 31, and a no-deal scenario would lead to significant disruptions in the movement of goods between the UK and EU countries such as Belgium.
The Observer newspaper reported on Sunday that as part of the UK government’s contingency plans, tens of millions of vaccine doses could be flown by military aircraft to the UK to avoid delays in the ports caused by Brexit.
The head of the drug regulator who approved the vaccine, June Raine, was asked if she was concerned that a no-deal could jeopardize adoption.
“We have practiced, we are ready, we are fully prepared for every possible outcome,” Raine said in an interview on BBC television.
QUEEN TO GET JAB
The Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine has high storage requirements. It has to be stored at -70 ° C and only lasts five days in a normal refrigerator.
Because of this, the Ministry of Health said the vaccine would be given in 50 hospitals first. It said it would take a few hours to defrost and prepare each vaccine for use.
NHS England has written to general practitioners telling them to prepare to receive vaccinations from local health services from December 14th.
Instead of running clinics in one-to-one surgery, groups of local doctors will operate more than 1,000 vaccination centers across the country, the government said.
The vaccine packs contain five packs of 975 doses, but special government approval is required to split them. A senior doctor said that while he was hopeful that it would be possible to split the packs and deliver them directly to nursing homes, this was not guaranteed.
The UK is among the first nations to introduce vaccination outside of a clinical trial, which raises hopes that the tide could soon turn to a virus that has killed nearly 1.5 million people around the world and ravaged the global economy.
Given the high level of skepticism about vaccines that worried public health experts, the Times and Mail newspapers reported Sunday that Queen Elizabeth, 94) and her husband Prince Philip, 99, would “let it know” if they got the sting .
The Queen is highly admired in British society and her public support for the vaccine would send a strong message to address the vaccination misinformation spread online.