Healthcare experts in Britain are all set to give the first doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to the people. Within a few more days, the UK is going to create history by becoming the first country to approve COVID-19 vaccine and start vaccination. The UK COVID-19 vaccinations mark more than 95% efficacy and have least side effects.
The vaccinations are to begin on Tuesday in England, Scotland, and Wales. Further, Northern Ireland will administer the dosage of the vaccine this week. However, they did not mention a date.
UK COVID-19 vaccinations doses
Pfizer and BioNTech provide two vaccines doses for each person to fight coronavirus. One person gets two vaccines three weeks apart from one another.
Initially, healthcare experts will monitor everyone getting vaccinated. The entire world has its eyes on the UK and anxiously waiting for more positive updates.
The deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery, reported that 50 hospitals across England had received the number of vaccines that were to be allocated for them. The rest of the distribution is also on the way to make sure more and more people get it as quickly possible.
The health officials in the UK are to receive 4 million doses of the UK COVID-19 vaccinations. By the end of December, most healthcare workers will get their vaccines.
The government of the UK has ordered 40 million doses of this vaccine. This means it is enough to vaccinate 20 million people. The UK has a rough population of 60 million. Thus, around 1/3rd of their population will get coronavirus vaccine within a few days.
The UK has had the highest death toll from coronavirus compared to any other country in Europe.
Is the Pfizer/BioNTech effective?
The speed at which the regulators in the country approved the vaccine has raised questions from other countries in Europe and the US. However, Cordery clarified that the process was robust.
On Sunday, the head of UK medicines regulator confirmed that the UK COVID-19 vaccinations are safe. He said that it was similar to any other general vaccine. Also, health experts will closely monitor the person who receives it.
The vaccine is supposed to have mild side effects, but they will disappear in a couple of days. The symptoms are not serious said the head of UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, June Raine.
The side effects of the UK COVID-19 vaccinations might be a headache, pain in the injection area, chills, muscle pain, fever, and joint pain. There can be some other side effects that aren’t common. However, reports of the same can be confirmed when more and more people get injected.
June Raine was asked about the probable impact of Brexit to which she replied that they have practiced well and are prepared for whatever outcome is possible.
The transition for the exit of the UK from the European Union will end on December 31. The final talks between the UK and EU leaders on the trade deal has continued over the weekend. There have been warnings given in terms of logistic and economic chaos. The results are most likely to be a hard crash in the world’s largest trading bloc.
Raine continued to say that the outcome can be anything. But their main goal will still be to vaccinate everyone in the country without any disruption.
The logistical challenge of vaccination
Last Thursday, the first doses of vaccines arrived in UK. Several unmarked trucks carried the vaccines across the Eurotunnel from Belgium.
The vaccines were taken to undisclosed warehouses in Scotland, Wales, England, and Northern Ireland.
The approval of the vaccine had come in one day before. Since the announcement, there have been questions regarding who would get vaccinated first.
It brought in a lot of logistical constraints since they have to be stored at minus 70-degree C. Such a temperature is possible only in freezers. Once the doses are out of the freezer, they need to be refrigerated and used up in five days.
The entire process reflects that the batches can be repacked or moved in small numbers because of the strict condition.
Once a vial gets diluted for the injection, one can’t transport it – it has to be used within six hours or thrown away.
Who will get coronavirus vaccine first?
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation suggested that older people living in care homes must get priority, along with health care workers. Other people who are above 80 years of age must also get the vaccine.
It is, however, a challenge to carry the vaccines to the care homes. Thus, the healthcare workers have to administer whom it should go first to and how. At first, they will address people who are over 80-year-old and discharged from hospitals or attending outpatient appointments.
Hospitals will start inviting people who are associated with care homes to bring the elderly to vaccine clinics. Raine said vaccines would reach care home within the next two weeks
Any vaccines not used for these groups of people will be used for healthcare experts who are at most risk of COVID. NHS England sent out the statement regarding these.
Northern Ireland and Scotland to vaccinate people soon
Health Ministry of Northern Ireland informed in Friday that they had received 25,000 doses. They will start vaccinating people this week. The vaccinator teams will receive the first lot.
Scotland will get 65,000 doses out of the first batch of 800,000 doses of UK COVID-19 vaccinations. It was revealed by the Alister Jack, Secretary of State for Scotland. He also revealed that the Armed Forces are planning the distribution of the vaccination.
Scotland is very determined to vaccinate the people who are volunteering to vaccinate others. Once they get their vaccines, people above 80, frontline workers, and social care workers will get their vaccines.
More countries to vaccinate people
There are more countries following the UK to approve vaccine and start vaccinations. Food and Drug Administration of the US scheduled a meeting among the vaccine advisory committee on December 10. They will discuss the application of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in the country. They will again meet on December 17 to consider Moderna’s product and usage.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leading infectious disease expert, apologized for saying that UK regulators did not scrutiny data of their vaccine as much as US counterparts.
Britons welcomed the news of vaccine approval. It is a “ray of light” that showed up at the “end of a dark year.”
As per updates, the vaccine by Moderna is also in line for approval. Oxford University and AstraZeneca have developed it. However, there are warnings from chief medical officers that winters are going to be hard. People shouldn’t let their guards down at this time.
The news about vaccine approvals gives a bright start for 2021. Within the next three months, the death toll should be much curtailed due to the possibility of mass vaccination success.
Russia begins mass vaccination
Vaccine centers across Moscow have started distributing Sputnik V developed in Russia. Initially, healthcare professionals, municipal workers, and teachers will get the vaccine. President Putin ordered mass scale of vaccination across the nation this week.
Russia is the first country to have approved a vaccine for coronavirus in August. However, it was open for public use before Phase 3, which are currently underway. The action drew criticism from science experts.
Natalya Nikolaevna Kuzenkova, the lead doctor of Hospital 68 in Moscow said civil vaccination have started at 70 places in their country. When asked about the safety of the vaccine, she diplomatically replied. She said between the chances of getting seriously ill and taking a vaccine, everyone knows which can be more dangerous.
Sputnik passed two stages of trials successfully. They are on the third stage, but the usage of the same doesn’t contradict their regulatory norm.
Sergei Sobyanin, the Mayor of Moscow, recommended early participation. He said that more than 5,000 people took the vaccine in the first five hours of the process. However, one local reported she is scared to use the vaccine before trials are over. She said she tries not to think about it and identified herself as Nadezhda.
The lady said that she wants to have the immunity she needs to fight the infection. She is trying to protect herself and her family. Thus, she should not fall sick or get into complications. She is also trying to take measures to keep her family protected.
Mikhail Murashko, the Health Minister, said that within the last week over 100,000 residents in Russia got Sputnik vaccine. According to officials, there are over 2 million doses right now, for a country of 145 million.