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Covid: How will I get a coronavirus vaccine? Covid: How will I get the coronavirus vaccine?
(1 day later)
Four Covid vaccines have shown very promising results in final-stage trials, so the first vaccinations could take place before the end of 2020. The first ever Covid vaccine has been approved for use in the UK.
When will coronavirus vaccinations start? The British regulator, the MHRA, says the Pfizer/BioNtech jab can be rolled out from next week.
The UK government is confident that some of the most at-risk groups will be vaccinated before Christmas, and most over-50s before the spring. Immunisations could start early next week for people in some high-priority groups.
More people may be offered a vaccine during 2021, if one is approved by UK regulator, the MHRA.
It will only authorise a vaccine if one meets strict safety, quality and effectiveness standards.
That process will probably take a few weeks. Usually it takes months, but these vaccines are being prioritised.
When will I get a vaccine?When will I get a vaccine?
That will mainly depend on your age - with people in care homes and the over-80s at the front of the queue, potentially in December. That will depend on whether you are a vulnerable person or in a priority group - the order of these groups will be decided on Wednesday morning by vaccine experts.
That's because the older you are, the higher your risk of becoming seriously ill or dying from the virus - and that risk rises sharply beyond 70. Up until now, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has said that residents and workers in care homes would be top priority, followed by people over 80 years old and NHS staff.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has decided that care home workers and health and social care staff are also a priority, because they could transmit the virus to vulnerable patients. The older you are, the higher your risk of becoming seriously ill or dying from the virus - and that risk rises sharply beyond 70.
After these groups, the plan is to offer the vaccine to everyone else based on their age - from the oldest to the youngest by next spring. After these groups, the plan is to offer the vaccine to everyone else based on their age - from the oldest to the youngest, but particularly the over-50s, by next spring.
Whether people with underlying health conditions and those from ethnic minority backgrounds are also prioritised in some way, has not been decided.Whether people with underlying health conditions and those from ethnic minority backgrounds are also prioritised in some way, has not been decided.
Coronavirus vaccine: How close are you to getting one?
Where will I get a vaccine?Where will I get a vaccine?
You'll be invited to get a vaccine as soon as it's your turn, probably by letter.You'll be invited to get a vaccine as soon as it's your turn, probably by letter.
This could be through your GP surgery, a hospital or care home if you work there, or through vaccination hubs which are being set up around the country.This could be through your GP surgery, a hospital or care home if you work there, or through vaccination hubs which are being set up around the country.
The NHS is ready to start giving vaccines as soon as the first one is approved and delivered to the UK. The NHS has been getting ready to start giving vaccines as soon as the first one is delivered to the UK.
It is recruiting 30,000 volunteers to help, some of who will be trained to give the jabs. It is recruiting 30,000 volunteers to help, some of whom will be trained to give the jabs.
Plans have been in place for months, but they can only be finalised once the regulators authorise the vaccines. Doses of the Pfizer vaccine need to be stored at a very cold temperature. This isn't an issue with the Oxford one, which can be stored at normal fridge temperature.
If the Pfizer vaccine is rolled out first, the challenge of storing doses at very cold temperatures will need to be planned for - but this isn't an issue with the Oxford one, which can be stored at normal fridge temperature.
Two full doses of the Oxford vaccine gave 62% protection, a half dose followed by a full dose was 90% and overall the trial showed 70% protection.
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 vaccines to go round.You can't jump the queue by paying for it, but there should be plenty of vaccines 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 regulator will not authorise any vaccine unless it believes it is safe.The UK regulator will not authorise any vaccine unless it believes it is safe.
The MHRA has to assess all the data and also ensure a vaccine works and that all the necessary trials and checks have been completed. The MHRA assesses all the data and also ensures a vaccine works and that all the necessary trials and checks have been completed.
It will study: 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
It will do this as quickly as possible without cutting corners, because these vaccines are a priority. It is doing this as quickly as possible without cutting corners, because these vaccines are a priority.
It will also seek advice from another independent body, the Commission on Human Medicines, before advising the government on a potential vaccine.It will also seek advice from another independent body, the Commission on Human Medicines, before advising the government on a potential vaccine.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine team has handed all its trial data to the MHRA to be assessed. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the fastest ever to go from concept to reality.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca team is likely to do the same soon, and other vaccine developers will follow.The Oxford-AstraZeneca team is likely to do the same soon, and other vaccine developers will follow.
Companies have continually been sending trial data to the regulator, which should also shorten the process. Companies have continually been sending trial data to the regulator, which has also shortened the process.
At this point, no-one knows which vaccine will be approved first.
In the event the UK has a choice, the JCVI would decide which vaccine should be used for different groups of people.In the event the UK has a choice, the JCVI would decide which vaccine should be used for different groups of people.
The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is currently in the final stages of testingThe Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is currently in the final stages of testing
Will everyone be vaccinated?Will everyone be vaccinated?
The eventual aim is that as many people as possible receive a Covid-19 vaccine.The eventual aim is that as many people as possible receive a Covid-19 vaccine.
If everyone over 18 in the UK is offered one, that would be more than 50 million people - a huge challenge.If everyone over 18 in the UK is offered one, 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.
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 vaccine will have to travel in specially-designed dry ice packs which keep it at freezing temperatures of around-70C.
The first batch of 800,000 doses is expected to arrive in the UK in the coming days.