The Pfizer coronavirus vaccine will be rolled out in the UK after Britain became the first country in the world to approve the jab. The country will get millions of doses of the Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 by the end of the year, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Wednesday. He added: “We’re expecting a matter of millions of doses for the whole of the UK by the end of the year, and I’m purposefully not putting a figure on it, because we don’t know.”
The jab has been shown in studies to be 95% effective and works in all age groups.
Mr Hancock said there would be “three modes of delivery” of the vaccine, with hospitals, mass vaccination centres and GPs and pharmacists offering the jab to those most in need.
He said: “Fifty hospitals across the country are already set up and waiting to receive the vaccine as soon as it’s approved, so that can now happen.”
The coronavirus vaccine has been widely hailed as the best chance of returning life to normal.
The elderly are expected to be due to be vaccinated first, along with healthcare and care workers.
The NHS has been told to prepare to begin issuing doses of the vaccine in December according to Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
The NHS plans to create 1,500 vaccination sites within weeks.
The jab will then be rolled out to all those at highest risk before it is given to all over-50s and younger people with health conditions.
With 40 million doses, one-third of the British population should be able to get the vaccination.
Who developed the Pfizer vaccine?
The vaccine is being designed and developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.
The companies own the intellectual property meaning it can only be made by Pfizer.
The pharmaceutical companies have the manufacturing capacity to create 1.3 billion doses by the end of next year.
However, they may choose to partner with other companies to increase capacity.
Pfizer, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, is an American firm.
BioNTech is a German biotechnology company dedicated to the development and manufacture of active immunotherapies for a patient-specific approach to the treatment of serious disease.
Reacting to the news the vaccine had been approved, Nadhim Zahawi, the newly-appointed minister responsible for overseeing the vaccination rollout, tweeted: “Major step forward in the fight against Covid-19 today.”
Business Secretary Alok Sharma tweeted: “The UK was the first country to sign a deal with Pfizer/BioNTech, now we will be the first to deploy their vaccine.
“To everyone involved in this breakthrough: thank you.
“In years to come, we will remember this moment as the day the UK led humanity’s charge against this disease.”
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was “the best news in a long time”.
She tweeted: “scotgov ready to start vaccinations as soon as supplies arrive.”
What is the latest on British vaccines?
Oxford University and AstraZeneca are expected to publish data shortly, which means their vaccine could also be given the green light.
Vaccine trial chief investigator Andrew Pollard told the Science and Technology Committee he is “optimistic” the University of Oxford trial could present late-stage results, possibly revealing whether it works, before the end of the year.
He said: “There is a small chance of that being possible but I just don’t know.
“Our trials are only one of many that are going on around the world, a number of which may well report before the end of the year.”
Source: Daily Express