The United Kingdom is preparing to become the first country to release the Pfizer KOVID-19 vaccine this week, initially putting the footage available in hospitals before distributing stock to clinics for doctors.
- The NHS prioritizes people over the age of 80, first-line healthcare professionals, and home and resident employees
- The first doses should be administered on Tuesday, UK time
- The UK has ordered 40 million doses, enough to vaccinate 20 million people
The first doses are scheduled to be administered on Tuesday, UK time, with the National Health Service (NHS) giving top priority to vaccinating people over the age of 80, first-line healthcare professionals and home care residents.
The UK gave urgent approval for the use of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech last week – jumping forward in the global race to launch a mass inoculation program.
In all, Britain has ordered 40 million doses – enough to vaccinate 20 million people in a country of 67 million.
About 800,000 doses are expected to be available during the first week.
Initial doses arriving from Belgium are stored in safe locations across the country, where quality will be tested, the UK Ministry of Health said.
The vaccine must be thawed before use
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has huge storage conditions.
It should be stored at -70 degrees Celsius and lasts only five days in an ordinary refrigerator.
For that reason, the Ministry of Health said the vaccine would first be administered in 50 hospitals.
It is stated that it will take several hours to thaw each vaccine and prepare it for use.
The NHS England wrote to GPs, telling them to prepare to start vaccinating on December 14.
Instead of operating individual surgery clinics, groups of local doctors will work with more than 1,000 vaccination centers across the country, the government said.
Vaccine boxes contain five packs of 975 doses, but special regulatory approval is required to separate them.
A senior medical official said he hoped the packages could be distributed and delivered directly to nursing homes, which is not guaranteed.
The UK is among the first nations to spread vaccinations outside the context of clinical trials, raising hopes that a wave could soon turn against the virus that has killed nearly 1.5 million people globally and struck the world economy.
Russia on Saturday began distributing its Sputnik V KOVID-19 vaccine to 70 clinics in Moscow, although the recording did not complete its final tests.