A few week ago, rather exciting news arrived when scientists announced that they'd developed a vaccine against COVID 19. A statement made by the research teams at Pfizer and BioNTech (who have developed it) described the advancement as a "great day for science and humanity". Now, the UK has received the news that the vaccine could be rolled out a lot quicker than many people thought... as soon as next week.
Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said earlier today, "Help is on its way. The MHRA has formally authorised the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for Covid-19. The NHS stands ready to start vaccinating early next week. The UK is the first country in the world to have a clinically approved vaccine for supply." He added that the news was "fantastic".
The BBC write that 800,000 doses are set to go from next week, meaning that it'll still be a while before it's available to everybody. It's reported that a government task force list details that older citizens, care home workers and health care workers will be the first to be vaccinated. Speaking at a Downing Street press conference last week, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam echoed this when he said that age would be the "biggest priority".
Help is on its way.
The MHRA has formally authorised the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for Covid-19.
The NHS stands ready to start vaccinating early next week.
The UK is the first country in the world to have a clinically approved vaccine for supply.
— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) December 2, 2020
A preliminary analysis of the vaccine has so far shown no safety concerns and has seen the formula tested on 43,500 people spread across six different countries. Pfizer (a pharmaceutical company) and BioNTech are far from the only team of researchers toiling away in the hopes of coming up with a solution to get the current pandemic under control, but they are the first to share results from the final stages of testing.
The technique involves injecting part of the virus's genetic code, by way of training the body's immune system – an incredible new experimental approach. It's hoped by many that a vaccine could spell the end of the current restrictions that have shaken everybody's lives upside down this year. It's reported that the companies plan to apply for emergency approval to distribute the vaccine by the end of November.
Sharing the groundbreaking news on Twitter, Pfizer wrote: "UPDATE: We are proud to announce, along with @BioNTech_Group, that our mRNA-based #vaccine candidate has, at an interim analysis, demonstrated initial evidence of efficacy against #COVID19 in participants without prior evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection."
UPDATE: We are proud to announce, along with @BioNTech_Group, that our mRNA-based #vaccine candidate has, at an interim analysis, demonstrated initial evidence of efficacy against #COVID19 in participants without prior evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
— Pfizer Inc. (@pfizer) November 9, 2020
Pfizer also said it hopes to supply 50 million doses before this year is out and a further 1.3 billion by the end of next year, but one logistical challenge that has arisen is temperature: the vaccine has to be stored in a below –80°C environment.
Anyone else now feeling teary at the thought of being able to hug their pals again soon?
The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it's possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing. For any concerns and latest advice, visit the World Health Organisation. If you're in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
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