LONDON – The UK’s National Health Service will embark on West’s first mass immunization program against coronavirus on Tuesday, with the elderly and care home workers first in line for the injection.
Following approval on 2 December by the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the first doses of the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine have arrived in the UK from Belgium and 50 hospital vaccination “hubs” have been set up. The NHS says that people over the age of 80 who attend hospital as outpatients as well as those being discharged from hospital will be among the first to receive the vaccine.
In a statement today, the NHS said that hospitals will also begin inviting others over the age of 80 to receive the vaccination and would “work with care home providers” to order their staff at vaccination clinics.
Although care home residents are to be the first to receive the vaccine, the government said on Dec. 4 that getting the vaccine to residents is “challenging” and details on how this will work have not yet been announced. Instead, only care home staff can be vaccinated in hospital hubs.
From the week beginning December 14, community vaccination by GP-led networks will begin on a small scale.
The BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius. It can then be thawed and stored in a refrigerator for up to five days.