The UK has now approved the use of a coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine that was developed by Pfizer/BioNTech, the vaccine will be made available to the NHS from Tuesday. The first people to receive the vaccine will be the people who are at most risk of coronavirus, it will be most likely to be offered to:
- People who live in care homes and care home workers.
- People aged 80 or over.
- Heath and social care workers in England.
Once these people have received it, it will then be offered more widely. The NHS will start to offer the vaccine as soon as it is available.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has already passed safety and efficiency tests. They tested the vaccine on more than 43,000 people and it showed that the vaccine is 95% effective at preventing the disease. The vaccine will be given as two separate injections that will be taken 21 days apart with the second injection being a booster. Immunity begins to kick in once the first injection reaches its full effect seven days after the second dose. The side effects are very mild, similar to the side effects after any other vaccine and usually lasts for a day or so. The vaccine has been shown to be safe and does not generate any serious side effects in humans, some trial participants reported headaches and fatigue during the testing phase. The UK government has also recommended that pregnant women should not receive the vaccine. Women have also been advised to avoid getting pregnant for at least two months after receiving their second dose. The UK government has also said it is also unknown whether the vaccine BNT162b2 has an impact on fertility.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine must be kept at minus 70 degrees Celsius and also can be kept in a regular fridge for just five days. The vaccine already has arrived in the UK last Thursday and is on its way to storage facilities all over England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It will then be distributed from storage facilities from Tuesday to 50 hospital hubs acting as vaccination points. The UK government is also seeking 1,250 other local sites mainly GP surgeries and health centres from which to administer the vaccine. St Johns Ambulance is also training more than 30,000 volunteers between now and spring 2021, to help support the NHS in delivering the vaccine. Pfizer/BioNTech have said “The jab can be sent to care homes as long as it travels for no more than six hours after it leaves the cold storage and is then put in a normal fridge at 2C to 8C.” The vaccine boxes will each contain 975 doses each.
Alok Sharma said “I’m absolutely confident the UK will have 800,000 doses available at the point of when we start the vaccination programme. Of course by the end of the this year we will expect some more doses to come through but I cant give a number on that.”
The Health Sectary Matt Hancock said “He cannot wait for the UK to get back to normal and the government will at some point be able to set the date for a liberation day! The first doses of the vaccine will be given out on V-day (meaning Tuesday). At some point we will be able to set the date when we can get rid of these restrictions and you couldn’t have said that two weeks ago.” He also said ” He cant wait to scrap the tiered system altogether” adding the measures could be eased from spring 2021.
Boris Johnson the UK Prime Minister has said “We are no longer resting on the mere hope that we can return to normal next year in the spring, but rather the sure and certain knowledge that we will succeed and together reclaim our lives and all the things about our lives that we love. We have been waiting and hoping for the day when the searchlight’s of science would pick out our invisible enemy and give us the power to stop that enemy from making us all ill. Now the scientists have done it, they have used the virus itself to preform a kind of biological Jiu-Jitsu, to turn the virus on itself in the form of a vaccine. It will inevitably take some months before all the most vulnerable are protected.”
Once you have received your vaccine jab you will the have a vaccine card which reads: ‘Don’t forget Covid-19 vaccination… Make sure you keep this card in your purse or wallet’. The card, which seems likely to be given to patients following the first two jabs, also uses the slogan ‘Enjoy Life. Protect Yourself’, and continues: ‘Don’t forget to attend your appointment to have your second dose of the vaccine. You will have the best protection after two doses.’ It will be a blue-hued card and carries space for the date and batch number for the two jabs the Pfizer shot recipients will get.