Covid vaccine arrives in UK hospitals

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Covid vaccine arrives in UK hospitals

Covid vaccine arrives in UK hospitals ready for first jabs

Medical director warns of great hurdles in largest vaccination campaign in UK history

Batches of the Covid vaccine arrives in UK hospitals, ready for the first jabs on Tuesday in what NHS England’s medical director warned would be the largest and most complex vaccination campaign in the country’s history.

The UK’s record-breaking approval of the vaccine and the rapid start of immunisation against Covid-19 did not mean the end of the pandemic was in sight, said Prof Stephen Powis. It would be a marathon and not a sprint, he said.

The logistical hurdles are great. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has to be stored in deep-frozen packs containing 975 doses at minus 70C that cannot easily be split down into small batches to be taken to individual care homes, whose residents have been designated the first priority. It can be moved only four times and lasts for just five days at fridge temperature.

The first shots will be given at 50 hospital hubs in England and others in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to people aged over 80, some of whom may be care home residents able to travel.

People over the age of 80 who already have an outpatient hospital appointment this week will be invited for vaccination while they are there, said NHS England. So will elderly patients being discharged after a hospital stay. Care homes will be invited to book their staff in.

To ensure no vaccine or time is wasted, spare appointments will be offered to those healthcare workers who are at high risk from the coronavirus. All those who get the shot will be given an appointment for the second dose in three weeks’ time.

GP surgeries are being put on standby to offer vaccination from the start of next week. That will begin with a small number of practices but will gradually be extended.

The rest of the world is watching the UK as it launches its vaccination programme, following criticism in Europe and the US of the speed with which the MHRA approved the vaccine.

Source: The Guardian