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Explained: Who will first get the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in the UK?

Coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine: Over 40 million doses of the vaccine called BNT162b2 -- which would be sufficient to vaccinate over 20 million people or a third of UK’s population -- are being procured in supply deals through 2021.

By: Explained Desk | New Delhi | Updated: December 8, 2020 10:48:25 am
Nurses at the Royal Free Hospital, London, simulate the administration of the Pfizer vaccine to support staff training ahead of the rollout, in London, Friday Dec. 4, 2020. (AP/PTI Photo)

From Tuesday onward, the United Kingdom will start rolling out the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for Covid-19 to its citizens. By the end of the week, over 800,000 doses will be available in the country. The vaccine received emergency use approval from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) last week, making the UK the first country in the West to to allow mass inoculations against the disease.

Over 40 million doses of the vaccine called BNT162b2 — which would be sufficient to vaccinate over 20 million people or a third of UK’s population — are being procured by the country in supply deals through 2021.

Through the Vaccine Taskforce, the government has secured access to nearly 357 million doses of seven vaccine candidates, which include 100 million doses from Oxford-AstraZeneca, seven million doses from Moderna, 60 million doses from GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi Pasteur, 60 million doses from Novavax, 30 million doses from Janssen and 60 million doses from Valneva.

How is the vaccine for Covid-19 administered?

The vaccine is given in two doses, three weeks apart. Data from clinical trials suggest it is 94 per cent effective in protecting people over the age of 65. The vaccines have been manufactured in Belgium and after their arrival in the UK, went through a quality assurance process before being made available to order by authorised sites in the National Health Service (NHS). 📣 Follow Express Explained on Telegram

87-year-old Indian-origin man first to get Covid-19 vaccine in UK

So, how will the vaccine be rolled out across the UK?

The UK’s NHS will begin vaccinating people against Covid-19 starting December 8 at dozens of hospital hubs in what is being called the biggest immunisation programme in the country’s history.

As per the NHS, in the first wave of vaccine administration, there will be 50 hubs, and more hospitals will join in as the programme ramps up. Patients above the age of 80 who are already in hospital as outpatients, and those who are being discharged, will be among the first to receive the vaccine shots.

An independent group of experts that advises the government on Covid-19 vaccines — called UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) — has recommended vaccination in the following order: Older residents in care homes, and care home workers; those who are of 80 years and above; health and social care workers; those who are between 75-80 years; those who are between 70-75 years; those who are between 65-70 years; high-risk adults under 65 years of age; moderate-risk adults under 65 years of age; those who are between 60-65 years; those who are 55 and above; those who are 50 and above; rest of the population.

“There is clear evidence that older adults living in residential care homes have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19 as they had a high risk of exposure to infection and are at higher clinical risk of severe disease. Given the increased risk of outbreaks, morbidity and mortality in these closed settings, these adults are considered to be at very high risk,” JCVI has said.

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