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Who will get the Covid vaccine first? When will you be eligible for the Covid vaccine?
(3 days 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. A vaccine to protect against Covid-19 will start being given to people across the UK from Tuesday 8 December.
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. The first delivery of vaccines has now arrived in the UK. Frontline health staff, those over 80, and care home workers will be first to get the jab at designated hospitals hubs.
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 and the over-80s next. Residents in care homes will start to be vaccinated within two weeks and other high-priority groups will follow over the coming months.
However, logistical challenges with ultra-cold storage and transportation of the jab means getting it to care homes may take a bit longer. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was found to be safe and effective by the UK medicines regulator last week, which approved it for mass use in over-16s - the first in the world to do so.
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".
When will I get a vaccine?When will I get a vaccine?
Broadly, vaccines will be given to the most vulnerable first, as set out in a list of high-priority groups from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation above, starting early next week. Broadly, vaccines are being given to the most vulnerable first, as set out in a list of high-priority groups from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation below.
The UK is expecting 800,000 doses - enough for 400,000 people - which will be shared out fairly across the four UK nations. The UK is initially expecting 800,000 doses - enough for 400,000 people - which will be shared out fairly across the four UK nations.
Scotland has already said it is receiving 65,000Scotland has already said it is receiving 65,000
Northern Ireland will get 25,000 Northern Ireland has received around 25,000
Wales will start vaccinating people on Tuesday Wales will also start vaccinating people from Tuesday
Each nation is taking a similar approach, carrying out vaccinations, initially, from hospital hubs. Each nation is taking a similar approach, initially carrying out vaccinations from hospital hubs.
The first people vaccinated are likely to be the over-80s, workers in care homes and NHS staff, including the vaccinators themselves. The first people vaccinated will be the over-80s, workers in care homes and NHS staff, including the vaccinators themselves.
As soon as there is clarity on how smaller batches of the vaccine can be transported safely, care home residents will be next on the list - probably from 14 December.As soon as there is clarity on how smaller batches of the vaccine can be transported safely, care home residents will be next on the list - probably from 14 December.
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.
The nine priority groups - around a quarter of the UK population - are thought to cover 90-99% of those at risk of dying from Covid-19, according to the JCVI.The nine priority groups - around a quarter of the UK population - are thought to 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.
The second phase of vaccination, which won't start until well into 2021, will focus on the under-50s.The second phase of vaccination, which won't start until well into 2021, will focus on the under-50s.
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.
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.
Vaccinations will take place:Vaccinations will take place:
in hospital hubs, around 50 of which are in England, initiallyin hospital hubs, around 50 of which are in England, initially
in thousands of GP surgeries as stocks become availablein thousands of GP surgeries as stocks become available
in sports stadiums and conference centres acting as major vaccination hubsin sports stadiums and conference centres acting as major vaccination hubs
care homes will receive stocks too when logistics are confirmedcare homes will receive stocks too when logistics are confirmed
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.
How will the new Pfizer vaccine work?How will the new Pfizer vaccine work?
I'm pregnant - should I be vaccinated? I'm pregnant - will that affect when I'm 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.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 based on any safety concerns with the vaccine.There is no suggestion the advice is based on 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.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?
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.
It studies:
lab and clinical trial results
manufacturing and quality controls
product sampling
testing of the final product
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.
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 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.
Your Questions Answered: Will I need a vaccine passport?Your Questions Answered: Will I need a vaccine passport?
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 testing
Where is the vaccine made?
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the first to be approved in the UK, is being manufactured and distributed from Belgium.
The first consignment has now arrived in the UK and will be sent out to hospital vaccination centres across the four nations.
The vaccine has to be packed in specially-designed "thermoboxes" containing dry ice which store the vaccine at freezing temperatures of around -70C, necessary to keep it stable.
It can only be moved once from there, and must be kept in batches of around 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.
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.