UK regulators approved COVID-19 Vaccine
Officials from the Department of Health and Welfare made the announcement shortly after 7 a.m. from this morning.
Matt Hancock said the NHS was “ready” to start vaccinating next week, adding that “help is on the way.”
It came as England came out of its second nationwide lockdown and stores reopened for a “wild Wednesday.”
UK regulators approved the Pfizer / BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine today, paving the way for mass vaccination in just a few days.
Authorities have said that the batch, of which the UK has ordered 40 million doses, will be available “from next week” when Health Secretary Matt Hancock said “help is on the way.”
Officials from the Department of Health and Welfare made the announcement shortly after 7 a.m. This morning England reversed its second national closure and stores reopened for “wild Wednesday”.
Hancock said today that “help is on the way” and revealed that 800,000 doses of the sting would be available next week, enough to immunize 400,000 people, but admitted that most of the operation did not. it will not take place before the New Year.
She said: “The NHS is ready to start vaccinating early next week. The UK is the first country in the world to have a clinically approved vaccine. ”
And Hancock urged England to comply with the controversial three-tier lockdown system that went into effect today after its passage last night. The end is “in sight” and “we have to put people to safety while we wait.” He told BBC Breakfast: “Easter will be better and next year we will have a summer that everyone can enjoy.”
A DHSC spokesperson added: “The government today accepted the recommendation of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) to approve the use of the Pfizer / BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.
“This follows months of rigorous clinical studies and in-depth data analysis by MHRA experts who concluded that the vaccine meets their strict standards for safety, quality and efficacy.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) will also release its latest recommendations for priority groups to receive the vaccine, including nursing home residents, healthcare and care workers, the elderly, and the clinically extremely vulnerable shortly. . .
“The vaccine will be available throughout the UK from next week.”
Speaking to Sky News, Hancock added that there would be “three modes of administration” of the vaccine.
He said: “The first is the hospitals themselves and of course we have those facilities.
50 hospitals across the country are already in place and are waiting to receive the vaccine once it is approved. Now it can be done.
“Also the vaccination centers, which will be excellent centers where people can get vaccinated. It will now be configured.
“There will also be community outreach, including general practitioners and pharmacists.
Due to the storage conditions of this vaccine at -70 ° C, of course you can support this outlet wherever you have these facilities.
“But they will also be present when the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is approved because it does not meet these cold storage requirements and is therefore easier to implement operationally.”
She added: “We are the first country in the world to introduce a clinically approved COVID-19 vaccine.”
Just a few days ago, hospitals in England were asked to prepare for the rollout of a Covid-19 vaccine in just 10 days, and NHS staff were the first to line up to receive it.
The first deliveries of the vaccine developed by Pfizer / BioNTech were scheduled for December 7 and 9.
This vaccine, which has given the first results suggesting that the injection is 95% effective, must be stored at extremely low temperatures.
A senior hospital manager has been told to expect the vaccine to be administered to NHS staff on December 7 during the following week.
On 20 November, the Health Minister announced that he had officially asked the Medicines Agency to evaluate the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine for use in the UK.
But he said that while regulatory approval is for next month’s launch, there is still a long way to go.
And the MHRA confirmed last Monday that it received the data it needs to advance the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine’s verification of compliance with required standards.
From the moment the Pfizer vaccine leaves the factory in Belgium, it can only be taken four times at minus 70 ° C before injecting it into the patient’s arm.
Sir Simon Stevens, executive director of the NHS in England, said the vaccination program was “the largest vaccination campaign in the history of our country.”
In a statement, he said: “This is an important next step in our response to the coronavirus pandemic and hospitals will soon begin the first phase of the largest vaccination campaign in our country’s history. .
The NHS has a proven track record of distributing vaccines on a large scale, from the winter flu vaccine to BCG. Once the final hurdles have been overcome and the vaccine reaches hospitals in England, healthcare professionals will offer people this innovative vaccine as part of a program that will expand across the country in the coming months.
The Pfizer / BioNTech puff is supplied in special suitcase-shaped storage containers that keep it at extremely low temperatures until administered with dry ice.
Dedicated GPS trackers mean that the temperature of the vaccine can be remotely monitored to ensure it is kept at the correct heat to maintain its effectiveness.
Details on how the vaccine could be shipped and stored emerged after the NHS could have difficulty administering a vaccine that would have to be stored at -70 ° C.
Each of the containers, known as a “dispenser,” holds approximately 1,000 cans and is equipped with heat sensors so that the pharmaceutical company can monitor the location and temperature of frozen vaccine bottles.
Heat transport systems can be loaded with dry ice if necessary, Pfizer said. Vaccines are shipped by air and by road, but not by sea due to time constraints.
And once the vaccine has been shipped, it can be refrigerated at 2-8 ° C for up to five days, which is perfectly doable in a normal drug refrigerator at a general practitioner. .
Hancock told Sky News: “It is