Coronavirus/Covid-19 Vaccine Update:
This is a brief update, further to LTB 558/20.
The Government announced yesterday that the UK has become the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech Coronavirus vaccine. This now paves the way for mass vaccinations in the UK which is good news.
Britain’s medicines regulator, the MHRA, say the Covid-19 jab, which offers up to 95% protection against Covid-19 illness, is safe to be rolled out and the first doses are on their way to the UK from Belgium, with 800,000 due in the coming days. The UK has already ordered 40 million doses of the jab – enough to vaccinate 20 million people.
However, the Government has warned the public not to get “carried away with over optimism or falling into the naive belief that our struggle is over”. Whilst the nation now has a working vaccine, significant logistical challenges remain. The bulk of the rollout across the UK will be next year 2021.
The free vaccine will not be compulsory and there will be three ways of vaccinating people across the UK:
- Vaccination centres
- GPs and pharmacists
Around 50 hospitals are on stand-by and vaccination centres (in venues such as conference centres or sports stadiums) are being set up now. It is thought the vaccination network could start delivering more than one million doses a week once enough doses are available.
However, the Government’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty, along with other medical and scientific experts, has warned that people still need to remain vigilant and follow rules to stop the virus spreading – including hand washing, good hygiene, 2M social distancing, face masks and self-isolation. “We can’t lower our guard yet,” he concluded. The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Dr David Nabarro said the Pfizer vaccine would not replace the other measures for a number of months, even a year, so it’s important to keep doing physical distancing, mask wearing, hygiene/cleanliness and isolating ourselves when we’re sick.
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer