UK buys 2 million more doses of Covid-19 vaccine and hopes to start injections within days

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                La Grande-Bretagne a déclaré dimanche qu'elle avait obtenu 2 millions de doses supplémentaires d'un vaccin prometteur contre le coronavirus alors qu'elle se préparait à lancer dans quelques jours le programme d'inoculation le plus ambitieux du pays depuis des décennies.
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                                    <p>Le Royaume-Uni a connu l'épidémie de coronavirus la plus meurtrière d'Europe, avec plus de 58000 décès confirmés liés au virus.  Il espère maintenant franchir une étape plus positive en devenant l'un des premiers pays au monde à commencer à vacciner sa population contre le COVID-19.

The UK government has agreed to buy more than 350 million doses of the vaccine from seven different producers, if they are found to be effective, as it prepares to vaccinate as many of the country’s 67 million people as possible.

The health ministry said on Sunday it had increased its order for a vaccine developed by the U.S. company Moderna from 5 million to 7 million doses, enough for 3.5 million people.

The Moderna vaccine is expected to be submitted to the UK Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency shortly, to see if it is safe and effective. Two other vaccines – one developed by Pfizer and the German company BioNTech, the other by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca – are already being evaluated by the regulator, the last step before their deployment.

Britain has ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine and 100 million doses of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine.

Hospitals in England have been told they could receive the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine as early as the week of December 7 if it receives approval, the Guardian and Financial Times reported. The U.S. immunization program also hopes to start immunizing some Americans in December.

The government says frontline healthcare workers and nursing home residents will be the first to be vaccinated, followed by older people, starting with those over 80.

Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, said he “wouldn’t be too surprised if an announcement was made within the next two weeks, maybe even as early as next week. ”

Non-medical staff, including volunteer rescuers, are already being trained to administer the vaccines, which will be administered at around 1,000 community vaccination centers and 40 to 50 large-scale facilities in stadiums and conference rooms, according to a government planning document.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said officials hope to immunize “the vast majority of people most in need of protection before Easter”.

In the Sunday Mail, Johnson said a vaccine rollout could be “in a few days.” But he said there would be no quick end to the heavy restrictions on businesses and daily life to curb the spread of the virus.

“There are still long weeks and months to come before we can be fully convinced that we can vaccinate enough people in the country, and thus eliminate enough targets for the virus, in order to defeat the disease,” he said. -he writes.

A four-week national lockdown in England is due to end on Wednesday and will be replaced by a three-tier system of regional measures. The vast majority of the country is placed in the top two tiers which means most people won’t be allowed to meet friends indoors, pubs and restaurants are still restricted and all, from large weddings to choral practices, is prohibited.

Pfizer and BioNTech say their vaccine is 95% effective, according to preliminary data. It should be stored at ultra-cold temperatures of around minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 94 Fahrenheit). The Moderna vaccine, which must also be stored at freezing temperatures, was also around 95% effective in clinical trials, the company said.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored at conventional refrigerator temperatures, which greatly simplifies its distribution and is also cheaper than its main competitors. But some scientists have questioned the shortcomings in its reported results.

Oxford and AstraZeneca reported this week that their vaccine appeared to be 62% effective in people who received two doses and 90% when volunteers received a half dose followed by a full dose. They said the half-dose was given due to a manufacturing error and that they are planning a new clinical trial to investigate the most effective dosage regimen.

Full data from the Oxford-AstraZeneca trial is expected to be released shortly and may answer some of the questions about the vaccine.

Openshaw said he would be happy to receive any approved vaccine.

“If my GP calls me and says, ‘I have an approved vaccine’, I really don’t care what vaccine it is,” he told the BBC.

(AP)

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