Covid Vaccine Judged Safe for Rollout

The Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine has been approved for use in the UK, making it the first country in the world to give it the green light.

According to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the jab is safe to be used.

Pfizer said there are 800,000 doses due in the UK in the coming days. The UK has ordered 40 million doses in total. This is enough to vaccinate 20 million people.

Elderly people the priority

People in certain groups will receive the vaccine first. Elderly people in care homes and staff working in care homes will be first in line. The over-80s and health and care staff on the frontline will receive it next.

Those aged over 70 and the clinically vulnerable will be the next priority groups, followed by those over 60 and anyone aged over 16 with an underlying health condition putting them at higher risk of serious illness.

As the vaccine must be stored at -70C, it is likely that the first vaccinations will take place in hospitals, which have the necessary storage facilities.

It is expected that the jabs will then take place in vaccination centres, which may include some of the specially built Nightingale hospitals, and then in the community, provided by GPs and pharmacists.

The NHS will contact people about getting the vaccine.

Potential challenges

Director of public health in Nottinghamshire Lucy Wightman has pointed out that the Pfizer vaccine’s storage requirements could make it difficult to get it to care home residents.

She said these residents may have to wait for the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine, which doesn’t have the same temperature requirements. The UK has ordered 100 million doses of that vaccine, but it will not be ready as quickly as the Pfizer jab.

The government will not make it mandatory for anyone to be vaccinated. This could also present potential problems for the rollout.

However, vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi has said that business could require proof of vaccination before allowing people to enter. He said organisations – including restaurants, cinemas and sporting venues – could make people show that they have been vaccinated in the same way they used the test and trace app to allow entry.


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