Source: MarketWatch The BioNTech and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is authorized in the UK.
The United Kingdom became the first country to give emergency authorization for a coronavirus vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech. This is a historic moment as cases reach an all time high in the pandemic. The first shots are going out next week.
The vaccine was made by US Pfizer and German BioNTech, showing a 95% effectiveness rate. Pfizer has said that it caused no safety concerns, even with older patients. BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin proclaimed in a private interview with CNN, “We believe it is really the start of the end of the pandemic.”
800,000 shots will be delivered to the UK next week and 40 million have already been ordered. 40 million doses is enough to vaccinate around 20 million people!
The country knows which groups of people will receive the vaccine first. Care home residents and their caregivers are at the top of the list. Those 80 years old and over as well as frontline health care workers are prioritized second. Third is 75 and older, and fourth is 70 and over as well as individuals clinically at high risk. Next is 65 years and older and so on.
Many “hospital hubs” will start to offer the vaccine to care home staff and the elderly. Later on, 1000 doctors’ offices will be vaccine centers for the vulnerable. As time goes on, vaccine doses will be available at large centers and local pharmacists. Eventually, the rollout will reach the general public in order of age group. It should be noted that the vaccine requires a second shot 21 days after the first one, resulting in a full immunity of the virus 7 days after the second dose.
Simon Steven, head of the National Health Service in England, believes that “with a number of companies now reaching the approval in the next few months, we might be able to deliver a sufficient number of doses until the end of summer 2021 to reach the 60 to 70% coverage, which could give us the relief to have a normal winter in 2021.”
Although this process usually takes years, the vaccine was ready in 11 months, something that can be attributed to the speed of technology today. Scientists know that the vaccine is safe and effective after months of rigorous trials and analysis. Despite that, everyone should not throw caution to the wind: still wear masks and socially distance.
The vaccine uses a piece of messenger RNA to “prompt the body to make synthetic pieces of the coronavirus and stimulate an immune response”, as stated in the CNN article written by Emma Reynolds and Stephanie Halasz. Due to its fragility, special storage units to keep the vaccines in are required, one of them in Belgium. The vaccines are packed in thermo boxes that are temperature controlled and shipped by truck or plane.
The UK’s quick authorization is not reflected in other nations like the United States, as the Food and Drug Administration still has not granted emergency use of the Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine yet. Approval for another vaccine, Moderna, is also pending.
Ultimately, the United Kingdom’s approval of the Covid-19 vaccine gives hope to many living in England and other countries that there could be an end of this pandemic in sight.