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Last updated December 2020
In terms of total fatalities, the UK has recorded more than 61,000 counts of coronavirus-related deaths, making it among Europe’s most affected countries. As such, the campaign will see the British health authorities prioritizing the most vulnerable and those over 80, as well as staff in retirement homes and public health services.
With many understandably hoping that the inoculation campaign would spell the beginning of the end of the pandemic, we take a closer look at the American-German alliance Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, its efficacy, required doses and more, as it is rolled out to millions of people.
Here is everything you need to know about the COVID Vaccine in the United Kingdom.
What’s the latest update on COVID-19 vaccine in the UK?
The United Kingdom is the first in the world to have authorized the deployment of the COVID vaccine, specifically Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. All eyes are currently on the United Kingdom as the country kicks-off its first COVID-19 vaccination campaign on Tuesday, 8 December 2020.
In all, 50 hospital hubs equipped with ultra-cold storages have been set up in England and have begun to receive the first of the 800,000 initial doses of vaccine. According to the Ministry of Health, 1,500 vaccination centers will also be created.
The country has ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, protecting 20 million people, with two injections required three weeks apart. While ascertaining the vaccine’s availability for everyone remains up in the air, the UK health officials expect to procure up to 4 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine by the end of December.
With two doses required for each individual, the 40 million doses of vaccine the government has ordered so far will be enough to inoculate 20 million people, which translates to a third of the UK population.
How effective and safe is the vaccine?
Pfizer and BioNTech had released a joint statement claiming their vaccine was 95% effective in preventing infection, based on a final analysis of the Phase 3 trial. The high level of efficacy was consistent across age, race and ethnicity demographics, and was even observed in adults over 65 years of age.
The phase 3 trial involved over 43,000 enrolled participants, with no serious safety concerns observed. Some of the observable side effects were fatigue and headache at the percentiles of 3.8 and 2.0 respectively.
While there are currently concerns over whether the vaccine prompted allergic reactions in people with known history of severe allergy, the case is being investigated and people with severe allergic reactions to other medicines or foods are cautioned to delay vaccination until the investigation reaches a conclusion.
Vaccine priority list: When am I going to get vaccinated?
People on the priority list will be the first ones to receive the vaccine. The priority list is as follows:
After the priority list has been exhausted, everyone else will then be given the chance for the inoculation jab. You should avoid going to your GP or calling the NHS 111 as the authorities will inform you of when and where your inoculation will take place.