Boris Johnson: “ Does the progress of a vaccine mean we are at the beginning of the end of our troubles?”
A Covid-19 vaccine is no longer a thought or a clinical trial but has now become a reality.
Immunizations could start as early as next week or within days for those who need it the most, such as elderly people in care homes or frontline workers.
Yes, you read it right, UK’s Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine won the hyped vaccine race ahead of Moderna, Sputnik and CanSino Biologics when the country became the first in the world to approve their vaccine for widespread use.
British regulator, the MHRA, says the jab, supposedly offers up to 95% protection against Covid-19 illness, and has deemed it safe for rollout with 800 000 doses of the 10m ordered arriving in the coming days. The UK has pre-ordered 40m doses – enough to vaccinate 20m people.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock excited to launch the fastest ever vaccine to go from concept to reality, taking only 10 months to follow the same developmental steps that normally span a decade, tweeted “Help is on its way”, and told BBC Breakfast that people will be contacted by the NHS when it is their turn for the jab.
Plus or minus 50 hospitals are on standby and vaccination centers in venues such as conference centres are being set up now for the mass immunisation according to a priority list drawn up by professionals starting with care home residents and staff, followed by people over 80 and other health and social care workers, everyone over 50, as well as younger people with pre-existing health conditions, as from next week through the festive season into the coming year as more stocks become available in 2021.The vaccine, a new type called an mRNA vaccine that uses a tiny fragment of genetic code from the pandemic virus to teach the body how to fight Covid-19 and build immunity has never been approved for use in humans before, although people have received them in clinical trials, will be given as two injections, 21 days apart, with the second dose being a booster.
NHS Chief Executive, Sir Simon Stevens, said the health service was preparing for “the largest-scale vaccination campaign in our country’s history”.