Hospitals in England are said to have been told to prepare for the launch of the coronavirus vaccine in the coming weeks. The early results of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine suggest that it is 95% effective at protecting against the virus, but must be stored at extremely low temperatures.
According to The Guardian, hospitals in England can get their first vaccines within 10 days and approval from the regulator should be given within a few days.
Sources from several hospitals across the country told the newspaper that NHS England said vaccine stocks should be available on December 7, 8 or 9.
The timeframe, however, will depend on whether the vaccine has been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
NHS England has not confirmed a vaccine launch date due to several trials, including approval, which still need to take place.
NHS staff are expected to be at the forefront of the vaccine line, and nursing home residents and those over 80 will have to wait, according to The Guardian.
The decision to vaccinate NHS staff first with the Pfizer vaccine comes despite the government’s recognition of the other two groups as a priority for coronavirus vaccination.
This is reportedly due to Pfizer’s short shelf life and logistical difficulties in shipping the vaccine.
Last week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he asked the MHRA to access the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine for us in the UK.
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Once the Pfizer vaccine leaves the factory in Belgium, it can only be removed from -70 ° C from -70 ° C four times before being injected into the patient.
This makes transportation and distribution to patients more difficult and costly.
In the draft guidelines of the Joint Immunization and Immunization Committee (JCVI), elderly residents in nursing homes were prioritized over health care professionals and those over the age of 80.
But the committee added that the final decision on vaccine distribution will depend on the characteristics of the vaccine.
The MHRA on Monday said it had received the necessary information to continue its review on the approval of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine.
The UK has ordered 40 million doses of Pfizer vaccine and expects to receive 10 million doses by the end of the year.
The UK also ordered 100 million doses of Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine, which do not need to be stored in extremely cold temperatures.
The government also asked the MHRA for access to the Oxford vaccine for approval.
The UK reported 16,022 new COVID-19 cases and 521 new coronavirus-related deaths on Friday.
This brings the total number of deaths from the UK coronavirus to over 57,000.