Britain’s Covid deaths continue to drop with 648 more dead

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UK second wave of Covid continues to decline with 16,170 more cases and 648 more deaths

  • A 19-year-old with no known underlying health problem was among the deaths, according to NHS England
  • Figures show average number of Britons dying from coronavirus has fallen since November 21
  • Cases also continue to drop – with today’s figure down 11.2% from last Wednesday, statistics show

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Britain today recorded another week-over-week drop in daily Covid-19 deaths after authorities announced 648 more casualties, further evidence that the peak of wave two has passed.

Figures from the Department of Health show that the average number of Britons dying from the disease has declined since November 21 – about two weeks after the start of the second national lockdown in England. Nearly 700 deaths were recorded last Wednesday.

A 19-year-old with no known underlying health problem was among the deaths from the coronavirus, according to NHS England.

Infections also continue to decline, according to official statistics. Another 16,170 positive Covid tests were added to the government tally today – down 11.2% from 18,213 last week.

It comes as Britain today approved Pfizer / BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine, paving the way for thousands of nursing home residents – who are front of the line – to do so. exonerate next week.

Some 800,000 doses of the vaccine, which require two doses 21 days apart, will be available next week. The UK has pre-ordered 40 million doses in total, of which 10 million are due by the end of 2020 and the rest for the new year.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said an end to the pandemic was now “in sight” but warned that the deployment would be “one of the biggest civilian logistics efforts we have ever faced as a nation ”. Boris Johnson said the coup would “allow us to get our lives back and get the economy going” – but the Prime Minister also warned the British not to “raise hopes” for a swift deployment of the coup.

A truck leaves Pfizer's manufacturing plant in Puurs, Belgium this morning after the US company's Covid-19 vaccine was approved in the UK.  It is not known if the truck pictured was carrying the jabs

A truck leaves Pfizer's manufacturing plant in Puurs, Belgium this morning after the US company's Covid-19 vaccine was approved in the UK.  It is not known if the truck pictured was carrying the jabs

A truck leaves Pfizer’s manufacturing plant in Puurs, Belgium this morning after the US company’s Covid-19 vaccine was approved in the UK. It is not known if the truck pictured was carrying the jabs

Trucks loaded with the first batches of Pfizer / BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine are already on their way to Britain after the breakthrough sealed approval from the UK medical regulator.

Thousands of doses of vaccine were dispatched this morning from Pfizer factories in Belgium within hours of the green light from the Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

But there is growing confusion over which groups will receive the first doses.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) today released its Covid-19 priority list, advising that nursing home residents and the staff who treat them be the first to be vaccinated.

Trucks loaded with first batches of vaccines “already on their way to Great Britain”

Trucks loaded with the first batches of Pfizer / BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine are already on their way to Britain after the breakthrough sealed approval by the UK medical regulator – amid confusion over who will be first to be inoculated.

Thousands of doses of vaccine were shipped from Pfizer factories in Belgium this morning hours after receiving the green light from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), making Britain the first country in the world to have a clinically authorized Covid. -19 jab. Doses could reach Britain as early as tomorrow, the companies said.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said an end to the pandemic was now “in sight” but warned that the deployment would be “one of the biggest civilian logistics efforts we have ever faced as a nation ”. Boris Johnson has said the vaccine “will allow us to get our lives back and kick start the economy” – but the Prime Minister has also warned the British not to “raise hopes” for a rapid deployment of the jab.

Some 800,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine – which require two doses 21 days apart – will be made available “from next week.” The UK has pre-ordered 40 million doses in total, of which 10 million are due by the end of 2020 and the rest next year.

But there is growing confusion over which groups will receive the first doses. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) today released its Covid-19 priority list, advising that nursing home residents and the staff who treat them be the first to be vaccinated.

However, officials have warned that they cannot promise that care homes will receive the vaccine before everyone else, admitting that “whether or not it is really doable depends on deployment and implementation.”

Pfizer / BioNTech’s jab blocks 95% of Covid-19 infections, according to test results which show it works equally well in those over 65, who are most at risk of contracting the disease.

But transporting and storing the vaccine poses logistical challenges for its deployment in nursing homes, as it must be stored long-term at -70 ° C.

To keep the jab doses at this ultra-low temperature, they must be wrapped with dry ice and placed in a special transport box the size of a suitcase containing 5,000 doses.

These containers can keep vaccines from spoiling for 10 days if left unopened. Once the batches arrive at vaccination centers, they can be stored in standard medical refrigerators at 2 ° C to 8 ° C for up to five days.

Or they can be kept in their shipping boxes for up to 30 days if the containers are filled with dry ice at least once a week.

Fifty NHS hospitals in England already have ultra-cold freezers capable of keeping the vaccine at -70 ° C, meaning healthcare workers could be vaccinated first.

However, the sticking point for nursing homes may be that BioNTech says the vaccine cannot be stored at 2 ° C to 8 ° C for six hours in transit without turning off.

Since Pfizer cases contain 5,000 doses of vaccine, smaller quantities should be removed from the dry ice cases for transport to nursing homes.

But once in transit, the doses can perish after six hours. Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething said the logistical issues meant “in practical terms at this stage we cannot deliver this vaccine to nursing homes”.

The MHRA moved at unprecedented speed to approve the jab in just one week after receiving final data from Pfizer’s Phase Three trials.

The watchdog had conducted a “continuous review” of the vaccine, looking at data from its studies in real time. MHRA CEO Dr June Raine insisted that despite early approval, the vaccine had been evaluated “with meticulous care” and “no corners were cut.”

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