Now the UK government faces the daunting task of preparing to roll out the vaccine to the people – and get it to those who need it most as quickly as possible.
But how quickly could the new Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine be approved, how would it be delivered across the UK and what are the logistical challenges ahead? Sky News explains.
When could the vaccine be approved?
Pfizer says it will apply to the U.S. health care regulator – the Food and Drug Administration – by the end of November for emergency clearance to use the vaccine.
At the same time, drug regulators in the UK and Europe will review the safety data Vaccine trial by Pfizer.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said “we’re talking about the most likely weeks” for this data to be released.
Any vaccine intended for use in the UK will need to be approved separately by the UK Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency or, until December 31, by the European Medicines Agency.
The UK drugs regulator could approve the Pfizer jab within days of filing for a license, Mr Hancock said.
How much vaccine is available in the UK?
The government has obtained around 40 million doses – enough for 20 million people or about a third of the British population.
He expects 10 million of those doses to arrive in the UK before the end of this year, with those chosen to receive the vaccine receiving two doses, 21 days apart.
Pfizer and BioNTech say they can deliver 50 million doses worldwide by the end of 2020 and 1.3 billion by the end of 2021.
How will the vaccine be delivered across the UK?
the military and NHS personnel are on standby to deploy the COVID-19[feminine[feminine vaccine from early December and will work “seven days a week,” said the Secretary of Health.
Matt Hancock told Sky News the NHS is leading the work to get the vaccine as quickly as possible, although most people won’t get a vaccine until 2021.
It will be delivered through nursing homes, general practitioners and pharmacists, as well as “must-see” vaccination centers set up in places such as gyms, he said.
Dr Richard Vautrey, chairman of the British Medical Association’s general practitioners’ committee in England, said practices would ‘stand by’ to administer a vaccine, with clinics potentially open from 8 am to 8 pm, seven days a week. .
What are the logistical challenges?
The health secretary acknowledged that there is “enormous complexity” in the storage and administration of the Pfizer vaccine, which must be kept cold.
“The Pfizer vaccine must be kept at minus 70 ° C until the last few hours before deployment, which obviously makes things more complicated,” Hancock said.
“Plus, you can’t take it out of that freezer more than four times on its way from the manufacturing plant to the patient’s arm… which leads to its complications. ”
Scientists have also expressed concerns about how GPs will store vaccines, as many surgeries do not have freezers cold enough for them.
Brendan Wren, professor of microbial pathogenesis at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told Sky News: “You can certainly do a lot, but knowing if you can give it to everyone who needs it is another issue. and that’s why it’s good. that there are other vaccines available. ”
Who will get the vaccine first?
The health secretary said priority would be given to people living in nursing homes, the elderly, and health and social workers.
A draft list was published indicating who was likely to be at the top of the queue, using a “simple age-based schedule”.
Here is the provisional list:
1. Elderly people living in a care home and workers in a care home
2. All those 80 and over and health and social service workers
3. All those 75 and over
4. All those 70 and over
5. All those 65 and over
6. High-risk adults under 65
7. Moderate risk adults under 65
8. All those 60 and over
9. All those 55 and over
10. All those 50 and over
11. Rest of the population (priority to be determined)