08 DEC 2020

England’s National Health Service (NHS) has released the details of its official rollout of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine, which will begin early this week.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “This coming week will be a historic moment as we begin vaccination against COVID-19.

“We are prioritizing the most vulnerable first and over-80s, care home staff and NHS colleagues will all be among the first to receive the vaccines.”

The UK became the first country to authorize the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine, which Pfizer says is 95 percent effective.

The NHS said vaccinations would begin on Tuesday and that the first “wave” of injections will be done at 50 hospital hubs.

People aged 80 and over as well as care home workers will be first to receive the jab, along with NHS workers who are at higher risk,” the NHS said in a statement.

The NHS said patients aged 80 or over who are already in hospital as an outpatient or being discharged home after a hospital stay would be among the first to get the vaccine. Hospitals will also start inviting over-80s to come in for a jab and talk to care home providers to get their staff vaccinated.

Any appointments not used for these groups will be used for healthcare workers who are at highest risk of serious illness from COVID,” the NHS said.

Patients will need to return for a booster jab 21 days after the initial injection, the NHS said.

“Despite the huge complexities, hospitals will kickstart the first phase of the largest scale vaccination campaign in our country’s history from Tuesday. The first tranche of vaccine deliveries will be landing at hospitals by Monday in readiness,” NHS national medical director Stephen Powis said in a statement.

“The NHS has a strong record of delivering large-scale vaccination programs – from the flu jab, HPV vaccine and lifesaving MMR jabs – hardworking staff will once again rise to the challenge to protect the most vulnerable people from this awful disease,” he added.

The NHS said that the following week – starting December 14 – a small number of GP surgeries will start administering the vaccine. Eventually, the vaccine’s rollout will include large-scale vaccination centers in sporting venues and conference spaces, according to the NHS press release.

Pfizer told the BBC on Wednesday, December 2, that the UK will receive 800,000 doses of the vaccine this coming week – meaning the first wave of two-shot vaccinations will be enough for roughly 400,000 people.

In total, the UK has ordered roughly 40 million doses, meaning it will have enough to vaccinate 20 million out of its population of 66.7 million.

The UK has been hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic, on Friday recording over 60,000 total deaths. Counting all deaths where coronavirus is mentioned on the death certificate, the UK has surpassed 75,000.


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