The government cleared the first Covid-19 vaccine after independent drug agency approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech jab, with officials saying it will be available “from next week.”
The Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has concluded that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has met its “strict standards for safety, quality and effectiveness” after months of rigorous clinical trials and extensive testing. Thorough data analysis by experts, a government spokesperson told me.
The development comes as England emerge from their second lockdown, with the country entering the new tier system at midnight on Wednesday. The government adopted the stricter framework of restrictions despite the rebellion of 55 Conservative MPs.
About 99% of the population is now subject to the two most severe levels of restrictions, Levels 2 and 3, with only three areas in England – the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly – at the lowest level of level 1.
SNP Westminster chief worried about pandemic suicides
SNP Westminster chief Ian Blackford has raised concerns over people who committed suicide during the pandemic after being excluded from government support measures.
Appearing from a distance, he told the House of Commons: “There are millions of people who still have not received a penny of support from this UK government. Yesterday I met the excluded UK which represents many of those three million citizens.
“For nine months, the excluded have lived without any help, without any hope and this is now tragically costing lives. They told me something really shocking: They know eight people who have committed suicide in the past 10 months. days, eight people in 10 days.
“We are now just over three weeks away from Christmas. These people need help. Will the Prime Minister commit to reviewing the package of support for the excluded to ensure that no one is left behind? ”
Boris Johnson responded: “I obviously sympathize a lot with those who took their lives and their families, and it has been a very difficult time for the country. We are investing heavily in supporting mental health across the country because he knows what flows through Barnett, obviously, in Scotland.
“We’ve put in a huge package of support and he knows it, but I have to say it again for the self-employed across the country, and I know there are some hard to reach people, but they are also being supported by the increases. . in universal credit and the many other supports currently available. ”
Chiara Giordano2 December 2020 12:44
Nursing homes may not receive the first vaccine
Nursing homes might not be able to use the Pfizer vaccine approved today due to the need to keep it so cold, Boris Johnson warned.
The Prime Minister supported a warning from the Welsh government – telling MPs that there were “logistical challenges” in spreading it widely.
Read updates on this story below:
Chiara Giordano2 December 2020 12:33
Sir Keir said it was really important to tackle “the dangerous and truly deadly misinformation about vaccines”.
The Labor leader told the House that the opposition had called for legislation to crack down on the problem, with financial penalties for companies that fail to act. He asked the prime minister if he will work with them to present emergency legislation in the coming days.
Mr Johnson replied: ‘We are of course working to tackle all kinds of disinformation on the internet and he is right to point out the anti-vaxxers and those who I think are totally wrong in their approach and he is right to encourage adoption. vaccines across the country and very soon we’ll be publishing an article on online harms designed to tackle the very misinformation it talks about. ”
Chiara Giordano2 December 2020 12:31
Deployment of vaccines in nursing homes
Union leader Sir Keir Starmer urged the Prime Minister on the plan for nursing homes once the Pfizer vaccine is rolled out given the practical difficulties, including the fact that the vaccine must be stored at very low temperatures.
Mr Johnson told the Commons: ‘It needs to be kept at -70 ° C, so there are logistical challenges to overcome.
“We are working on this with all devolved administrations to make sure the NHS across the country is able to distribute it as quickly and wisely as possible to the most vulnerable groups.
“This is why it is also important that we get the AstraZeneca vaccine, which we hope will also go into effect.”
Chiara Giordano2 December 2020 12:26
Boris Johnson warned that “very important people are not celebrating too soon how quickly we can deploy this vaccine.”
The Prime Minister said that the deployment of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine will begin next week, “with several million doses expected before the end of the year” and that the government “will deploy it as quickly as possible”.
Chiara Giordano2 December 2020 12:19
The vaccine is good news but “not the end of the story”, warns the Prime Minister
Boris Johnson welcomed the news that the MHRA has officially authorized the use of the Pfizer vaccine in the UK, but warned it was “not the end of the story”.
I think it’s really important for us at this point to recognize that this is definitely good news, it’s very, very good news, but it’s not the end of the story. This is not the end of our national fight against the coronavirus and this is why it is very important that the set of moderate but hard measures that the House voted for last night, the prioritization system, be followed throughout. the country. ”
Chiara Giordano2 December 2020 12:13
BioNTech press conference
The BioNTech press conference is currently underway. Here are some slides from the company making the approved vaccine in the UK, showing the 10-month development process.
Clea Skopeliti2 December 2020 11:58
The UK has secured 40 million doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine, which has just been approved with great fanfare. Here is a graph showing how much the country has of each vaccine.
Clea Skopeliti2 December 2020 11:11
Norwegians can host up to 10 guests for Christmas, PM says
Norwegians can invite up to ten people to their home twice between Christmas and New Years, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Wednesday.
European countries are wondering what guidance to give their people on how to celebrate Christmas and the New Year while trying to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
“We don’t want to start the new year with an increase in the number of infections and new restrictions in January,” Solberg said at a press conference.
Clea Skopeliti2 December 2020 11:30
Shoppers line up outside non-essential stores from 7 a.m. until the lockdown ends
Shoppers started lining up early on Wednesday as thousands of stores reopened after England’s second coronavirus lockdown ended.
In its place, much of England is subject to Levels 2 and 3 of the new Covid-19 restrictions which limit social contact between households, but allow non-essential stores to do business.
Queues have reportedly formed outside stores, including Primark on Oxford Street in London, while officials at Westfield Shopping Center in Stratford have warned people could be fired and asked to return later if the venue was getting crowded.
Clea Skopeliti2 December 2020 11:14