Britain’s medicines regulators, the MHRA, has approved the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, which means the biggest vaccination programme in the country’s history will begin next week.
The UK has ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine – enough to vaccinate 20 million people as everyone requires two doses, delivered 21 days apart.
The vaccine is made in Belgium. The initial delivery will be sufficient for 800,000 doses. Supply, and the speed with which people can be vaccinated, remains a challenge.
The vaccines will not be compulsory. Vaccines will be administered in hospitals, at vaccination centres that might include some of the Nightingale hospitals as well as sports stadia/conference centres/other venues and in the community at GPs and pharmacies.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has announced the priority groups for the first phase of vaccination are as follows:
1. Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers.
2. Everyone aged 80 years and over. Frontline health and social care workers.
3. Everyone aged 75 years and over.
4. Everyone aged 70 years and over. Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals.
5. Everyone aged 65 years and over.
6. Everyone aged 16 – 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality.
7. Everyone aged 60 years and over.
8. Everyone aged 55 years and over.
9. Everyone aged 50 years and over.