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Who will get the Covid vaccine first? Who will get the Covid vaccine first?
(32 minutes later)
The UK has become the first country in the world to approve mass use of a Covid vaccine for people aged 16 and over.The UK has become the first country in the world to approve mass use of a Covid vaccine for people aged 16 and over.
Immunisations with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, approved by the British medicines regulator, the MHRA, could start early next week for people in some high-priority groups, with 800,000 doses arriving in the UK in the first delivery.Immunisations with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, approved by the British medicines regulator, the MHRA, could start early next week for people in some high-priority groups, with 800,000 doses arriving in the UK in the first delivery.
Nine groups of at-risk people have been prioritised to have the vaccine in the first phase, with care home residents and workers at the top and frontline health workers next.Nine groups of at-risk people have been prioritised to have the vaccine in the first phase, with care home residents and workers at the top and frontline health workers next.
However, logistical challenges with ultra-cold storage and transport of the jab means getting it to care homes may take a bit longer.However, logistical challenges with ultra-cold storage and transport of the jab means getting it to care homes may take a bit longer.
Prof Jonathan Van Tam, England's deputy chief medical officer, said there would be "blending of the top two groups" because of technical issues with a "delicate" vaccine. Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, England's deputy chief medical officer, said there would be "blending of the top two groups" because of technical issues with a "delicate" vaccine.
And he suggested that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, which is waiting for approval from the UK regulator, would be easier to roll out in care homes and would "hopefully be approved before Christmas".And he suggested that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, which is waiting for approval from the UK regulator, would be easier to roll out in care homes and would "hopefully be approved before Christmas".
When will I get a vaccine?When will I get a vaccine?
Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said the vaccine rollout will start at 50 "hospital hubs" in England next week. NHS staff, care home staff and the over-80s are likely to get them first.Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said the vaccine rollout will start at 50 "hospital hubs" in England next week. NHS staff, care home staff and the over-80s are likely to get them first.
GP practices will operate local vaccination centres as stocks become available. And - if regulators give approval for a safe way of splitting the packs of 975 doses - care homes will receive stocks.GP practices will operate local vaccination centres as stocks become available. And - if regulators give approval for a safe way of splitting the packs of 975 doses - care homes will receive stocks.
But Sir Simon said that process may not take long - and the "first tranche" of care home vaccinations could happen this month, "with a fair wind".But Sir Simon said that process may not take long - and the "first tranche" of care home vaccinations could happen this month, "with a fair wind".
He added that people due in hospital next week for an outpatient appointment may also be invited to get the vaccine.He added that people due in hospital next week for an outpatient appointment may also be invited to get the vaccine.
The priority groups - around a quarter of the population - cover 90-99% of those at risk of dying from Covid-19, according to the JCVI.The priority groups - around a quarter of the population - cover 90-99% of those at risk of dying from Covid-19, according to the JCVI.
The older you are, the higher your risk of becoming seriously ill or dying from the virus - and that risk rises sharply beyond 70. People with underlying health conditions are also vulnerable to the virus.The older you are, the higher your risk of becoming seriously ill or dying from the virus - and that risk rises sharply beyond 70. People with underlying health conditions are also vulnerable to the virus.
After these nine priority groups, there will be a second phase of vaccination for younger groups in the population.After these nine priority groups, there will be a second phase of vaccination for younger groups in the population.
Local NHS and public health teams will be given some flexibility to allocate vaccines to other at-risk groups, including people from ethnic backgrounds and deprived communities.Local NHS and public health teams will be given some flexibility to allocate vaccines to other at-risk groups, including people from ethnic backgrounds and deprived communities.
People will be vaccinated twice - 21 days apart - and full immunity starts seven days after the second dose.People will be vaccinated twice - 21 days apart - and full immunity starts seven days after the second dose.
Where will I get a vaccine?Where will I get a vaccine?
You'll be invited to book an appointment to get a vaccine as soon as it's your turn, probably by letter.You'll be invited to book an appointment to get a vaccine as soon as it's your turn, probably by letter.
In England, as well as hospitals, more than 1,000 GP surgeries will act as local vaccination centres, and sports stadiums and conference centres will act as major vaccination hubs.In England, as well as hospitals, more than 1,000 GP surgeries will act as local vaccination centres, and sports stadiums and conference centres will act as major vaccination hubs.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says the first vaccines will be administered on Tuesday in Scotland.First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says the first vaccines will be administered on Tuesday in Scotland.
Northern Ireland will receive 25,000 doses next week and NHS staff have been told they will be vaccinated on 14 December, although this could be brought forward.Northern Ireland will receive 25,000 doses next week and NHS staff have been told they will be vaccinated on 14 December, although this could be brought forward.
The roll-out of the vaccine in Wales will start in a matter of days.The roll-out of the vaccine in Wales will start in a matter of days.
The NHS is recruiting 30,000 volunteers to help with the rollout, including lifeguards, airline staff and students - who will be trained to give the jabs.The NHS is recruiting 30,000 volunteers to help with the rollout, including lifeguards, airline staff and students - who will be trained to give the jabs.
The Pfizer vaccine has been approved for use.The Pfizer vaccine has been approved for use.
I'm pregnant - should I be vaccinated?
For precautionary reasons, and because the vaccine was not tested on pregnant women during the trials, the official advice is that you should wait until after the birth of your baby.
There is no suggestion the advice is because of any safety concerns with the vaccine.
Pregnant women are likely to be low down the list of priority groups anyway because of their age, and may only be offered a vaccine in the second phase in 2021.
Can I pay to be vaccinated sooner?Can I pay to be vaccinated sooner?
No - this vaccine is being rolled out free to people via the NHS.No - this vaccine is being rolled out free to people via the NHS.
You can't jump the queue by paying for it, but there should be plenty of vaccine to go round.You can't jump the queue by paying for it, but there should be plenty of vaccine to go round.
Should I leave a gap between getting the flu and Covid vaccines?Should I leave a gap between getting the flu and Covid vaccines?
If you're eligible for a flu vaccine, you should get it as soon as possible, particularly if you will also be in a high-risk priority group for a Covid jab.If you're eligible for a flu vaccine, you should get it as soon as possible, particularly if you will also be in a high-risk priority group for a Covid jab.
Having both infections at once this winter could be dangerous.Having both infections at once this winter could be dangerous.
At its last meeting, the JCVI recommended leaving at least seven days between the vaccines.At its last meeting, the JCVI recommended leaving at least seven days between the vaccines.
Flu jab 'more important than ever' this winterFlu jab 'more important than ever' this winter
Will the Covid vaccine be safe?Will the Covid vaccine be safe?
The UK medicines regulator does not authorise any vaccine unless it believes it is safe.The UK medicines regulator does not authorise any vaccine unless it believes it is safe.
The MHRA assesses all the data, ensures a vaccine works and that all the necessary trials and checks have been completed.The MHRA assesses all the data, ensures a vaccine works and that all the necessary trials and checks have been completed.
It studies:It studies:
lab and clinical trial resultslab and clinical trial results
manufacturing and quality controlsmanufacturing and quality controls
product samplingproduct sampling
testing of the final producttesting of the final product
The regulator is doing this as quickly as possible without cutting corners, because these vaccines are a priority.The regulator is doing this as quickly as possible without cutting corners, because these vaccines are a priority.
Drug companies making the vaccines have been sending trial data to the regulator regularly since their trials started, which has also shortened the process.Drug companies making the vaccines have been sending trial data to the regulator regularly since their trials started, which has also shortened the process.
The MHRA also seeks advice from another independent body, the Commission on Human Medicines, before advising the government on a potential vaccine.The MHRA also seeks advice from another independent body, the Commission on Human Medicines, before advising the government on a potential vaccine.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the fastest ever to go from concept to reality, taking just 10 months.The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the fastest ever to go from concept to reality, taking just 10 months.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca team has now sent all the data on its vaccine to the MHRA for approval, as has Moderna, and other vaccine developers will follow.The Oxford-AstraZeneca team has now sent all the data on its vaccine to the MHRA for approval, as has Moderna, and other vaccine developers will follow.
In the event the UK has a choice, the JCVI would advise which vaccine should be used for different groups of people.In the event the UK has a choice, the JCVI would advise which vaccine should be used for different groups of people.
Your Questions Answered: How do we know the vaccine is safe?Your Questions Answered: How do we know the vaccine is safe?
Covid vaccines: Who decides if they are safe?Covid vaccines: Who decides if they are safe?
The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is currently in the final stages of testingThe Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is currently in the final stages of testing
Where is the vaccine made?Where is the vaccine made?
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is the first to be approved in the UK, is being manufactured and distributed from Belgium.The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is the first to be approved in the UK, is being manufactured and distributed from Belgium.
The vaccine will be packed in specially-designed "thermoboxes" containing dry ice, and transported to the UK by lorry or plane.The vaccine will be packed in specially-designed "thermoboxes" containing dry ice, and transported to the UK by lorry or plane.
It will go straight to major hospitals to be stored at freezing temperatures of about -70C, which is required to keep the vaccine stable.It will go straight to major hospitals to be stored at freezing temperatures of about -70C, which is required to keep the vaccine stable.
It can only be moved once from there, and must be kept in batches of 1,000 doses.It can only be moved once from there, and must be kept in batches of 1,000 doses.
At that point, it's a race against time - they can be kept at fridge temperatures (2-8C) for five days and up to six hours in a cool bag to enable them to be taken to care homes and other sites.At that point, it's a race against time - they can be kept at fridge temperatures (2-8C) for five days and up to six hours in a cool bag to enable them to be taken to care homes and other sites.
Some of the first delivery of the Pfizer vaccine is understood to be travelling via the Eurotunnel to the UK on Thursday.Some of the first delivery of the Pfizer vaccine is understood to be travelling via the Eurotunnel to the UK on Thursday.
Will everyone be vaccinated?Will everyone be vaccinated?
The eventual aim is that as many people as possible over the age of 16 receive a Covid-19 vaccine.The eventual aim is that as many people as possible over the age of 16 receive a Covid-19 vaccine.
That would be more than 50 million people - a huge challenge.That would be more than 50 million people - a huge challenge.
There is no timeframe on this momentous task, but it's clear that's the long-term plan in 2021.There is no timeframe on this momentous task, but it's clear that's the long-term plan in 2021.
The NHS has plenty of experience delivering vaccines to huge numbers of people, for example this winter's flu jab should reach 30 million.The NHS has plenty of experience delivering vaccines to huge numbers of people, for example this winter's flu jab should reach 30 million.
A Covid vaccine won't be compulsory though - no other vaccines in the UK are, and experts say this approach doesn't help create confidence in the vaccine.A Covid vaccine won't be compulsory though - no other vaccines in the UK are, and experts say this approach doesn't help create confidence in the vaccine.
At present, the government has ordered seven different types of vaccine and expects to receive 355 million doses, including 100 million of the Oxford/AstraZeneca one.At present, the government has ordered seven different types of vaccine and expects to receive 355 million doses, including 100 million of the Oxford/AstraZeneca one.
If everyone needs two doses, that would certainly be enough for every adult in the UK.If everyone needs two doses, that would certainly be enough for every adult in the UK.