The Pfizer and BioNTech coronavirus vaccine has received the green signal from Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). In light of this, the United Kingdom has become the first country to approve the Covid-19 vaccine, which supposedly offers up to 95% protection against the deadly infection. The first 800,000 doses will be available in the UK from next week, revealed Health Secretary Matt Hancock, adding that everyone should wait to be contacted by the NHS. The elderly in care homes have been placed on number one of the priority list, followed by frontline health workers, those with underlying conditions and adults above the age of 80.
Hospitals are already equipped with the facility of storing the vaccine at -70C. The UK has already ordered 40 million doses of the free jab, enough to vaccinate 20 million people. The doses will be rolled out as quickly as they can be made by Pfizer in Belgium, Hancock mentioned, with the first load next week and then “several millions” throughout December. But the bulk of the rollout will be next year, he added. “2020 has been just awful and 2021 is going to be better,” assured Hancock.
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He continued, “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.” The vaccine will not be mandatory and there will be three ways of vaccinating people across the UK. These include hospitals, vaccination centres and in the community, with General Physicians and pharmacists. Around 50 hospitals are waiting impatiently for the vaccine’s arrival while conference centres and sports stadiums are being temporarily turned into vaccination centres. NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said the health service was preparing for “the largest-scale vaccination campaign in our country’s history”.