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The main stream media has widely covered that a COVID-19 “coronavirus” Vaccine has been approved for use in the UK. There are many views on vaccines but ignoring that friend’s opinion on Facebook (who it turns out has never worked in a laboratory), it is nothing short of a miracle.

It turns out that in the midst of a global pandemic that is ruthlessly killing. The worlds greatest minds tasked with securing a vaccine can make it happen in a record time. In fact the first approved vaccines are in transit right now and will be made available from next week. The first vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Other vaccines are still being developed and will only be available on the NHS once they have been thoroughly tested to make sure they are safe and effective, this is anticipated for 2021.

Who gets it first?

With the vaccine now becoming a reality as it comes to the UK today (3rd December), just how will it be rolled out. The government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) says its priority is to prevent Covid-related deaths and protect health and social care staff and systems. This early indication confirmed the priority cohorts.

Elderly care home residents and their carers are first on the JCVI’s list because their risk of exposure to the virus is higher and because the risk of death closely correlates with older age. They are followed in priority by anyone else over 80 and frontline health and social care workers.

It is thought that for pragmatic reasons NHS staff are likely to be the first group to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech jab. This is because the vaccine needs to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures, which can be achieved more easily by using hospital facilities, and because of limits on the number of times the vaccine can be moved.

Together, care home residents, their carers and the over-80s make up nearly six million people, and frontline NHS staff a further 736,685. Matt Hancock, the health secretary, has said he expects 10m doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to be available this year, so if this is the only vaccine authorised, other cohorts would obviously have to wait until further doses become available next year.

When will you be offered the vaccine?

Firstly it is important to state that the NHS will contact people individually once it is their turn to be vaccinated and provide full details of where they should go and what they need to do in order to receive the vaccine.

Having covered the first cohort during December/January The government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) priority list will be as follows:

  • Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
  • All those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
  • People 75 years of age and over
  • People 70 years of age and over and people deemed to be clinically extremely vulnerable (those who were told to shield)
  • People 65 years of age and over
  • Individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality.
  • People 60 years of age and over
  • People 55 years of age and over
  • People 50 years of age and over

 

It is estimated that taken together, these groups represent around 99% of preventable mortality from COVID-19.

Department of Health & Social Care

Independent Report 3rd December 2020