The UK has officially become the first country to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against COVID19. Mass vaccination can start as early as next week.
The MHRA, Britain's medicines regulator, have announced that the vaccine, which has 95% effectiveness, is finally ready to be administered.
Health Secretary Matt Hancook confirmed that the first 800,000 doses will be available in the UK as of next week and priority will be given to elderly people in care homes and care home staff. The next on the list to be given priority are those over 80 years of age and health staff. Hancook explained that the doses would be available as quickly as they can be made by Pfizer in Belgium. 'Several millions' should be available after the first round set to come out next week.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is the fastest and first vaccine to go from concept to reality. Normally, vaccines can take up to 10 years to be ready for distribution but the Pfizer/BioNTech jab achieved the same results in only 10 months.
The UK has already ordered 40 million doses of the free vaccine but the majority will be rolled out in the next year:
2020 has been just awful and 2021 is going to be better. I'm confident now, with the news today, that from spring, from Easter onwards, things are going to be better. And we're going to have a summer next year that everybody can enjoy.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson added:
It's the protection of vaccines that will ultimately allow us to reclaim our lives and get the economy moving again.
How will people be able to get vaccinated?
There will be three ways of getting vaccinated across the UK:
- Vaccination centres
- In the community, with GPs and pharmacists.
Does this mean we are completely off the hook?
According to experts, this does not necessarily mean that we can neglect the safety measures that were put in place by government officials to contain the virus. People must remain prudent and continue wearing face masks in public spaces and practice self-isolation and social distancing to stop the virus from further spreading.
One thing's for sure, the new year is looking brighter and more hopeful each day!