Following the testing of the first COVID-19 vaccination, created and released by companies Pfizer and BioNTech, it has been announced that the UK has approved the vaccine. Our country has become the first in the world to approve it, set to begin mass vaccinations next week.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has stated that the first 800,000 doses will be available in the UK from next week. The public should wait to be contacted by the NHS to be added to the list.
It has also been confirmed that the elderly population of the UK, and those in care homes, along with some vulnerable NHS staff will be prioritised, there will be more details released on this at a later date.
The notion has caused a stir with the UK population, with many members of the public sceptical about a vaccination (that usually take years to produce) moving from concept to reality in UNDER a year. The vaccination by Pfizer and BioNTech has taken only 10 months to produce, and was quickly trialled and tested before being hastily approved by health officials.
The UK has ordered 40 million doses of the jab, which will be free to the public on the NHS, with the first 800,000 in the next week, and then “several millions” throughout December, Matt Hancock said.
But the bulk of the rollout will be next year, he added. “2020 has been just awful and 2021 is going to be better,
“I’m confident now, with the news today, that from spring, from Easter onwards, things are going to be better. And we’re going to have a summer next year that everybody can enjoy.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson added: “It’s the protection of vaccines that will ultimately allow us to reclaim our lives and get the economy moving again.”
There will be three ways of vaccinating people across the UK:
- Vaccination centres “a bit like the Nightingales project and including some of the Nightingales”, said Mr Hancock
- In the community, with GPs and pharmacists.
Vaccination centres in venues such as sports stadiums and conference centres – places that have remained empty during lockdown – are currently being set up, and around 50 hospitals in the UK are on stand-by to start vaccinating the public.
Despite receiving the vaccine, officials have stated that the public still need to remain vigilant and social distance as well as use face masks and self isolate when necessary. Health officials have made it clear that those who receive the jab will not have the excuse to go back to daily life before the virus, it is going to take time. “We can’t lower our guard yet,” said the government’s chief medical adviser Prof Chris Whitty.
The vaccine is given in two doses, 3 weeks (21 days) apart, with the second dose acting as a booster as it takes a few weeks for immunity to build.