LONDON – The UK National Health Service will launch the West’s first mass immunization program against coronavirus on Tuesday, with the elderly and domestic workers in line for a stroke.
Following approval by the UK Drugs and Drug Administration (MHRA) on 2 December, the first doses of BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine arrived in the UK from Belgium and 50 “vaccination centers” were set up in hospitals. The NHS says that people over the age of 80 who go to the hospital as outpatients, as well as those who are discharged from the hospital, will be among the first to receive the vaccine.
In a statement today, the NHS said hospitals would also begin inviting others over the age of 80 for vaccination and would “work with nursing home providers” to book staff at vaccination clinics.
While residents of care homes were to be among the first to receive the vaccine, the government said on December 4 that getting the vaccine was a “challenge” for residents, and details of how it would work have not yet been released. Instead, only in-home care staff will be able to be vaccinated at the hospital centers.
Starting on Sunday, December 14th, community-wide vaccination of general practitioner-led networks will begin on a small scale.
The BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine should be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius. It can then be thawed and stored in the refrigerator for up to five days.