Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Announced – UK orders 40 million

The first truly effective coronavirus vaccine from the pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech was announced today which the makers believe could prevent more than 90% of people from getting Covid-19, frollowing preliminary analysis.

The developers – Pfizer and BioNTech – have described the drug as a “great day for science and humanity”.

The vaccine has already been tested on 43,500 people in 6 countries with no safety concerns having so far been been raised.

Both Pfizer and BioNTech are planning to to apply for an international emergency approval to use the vaccine by the end of the month from the World Health Organisation and no other vaccine has gone from conception to being proveed as highly effective in such a short period of time.

There are still huge challenges ahead, but the announcement has been warmly welcomed with scientists describing themselves smiling “ear to ear” and some suggesting life could be back to normal by spring.

Today the world markets saw increased rises in money markets due to the announcement of the vaccine today. Alot of Government leaders worldwide; including President elect Joe Biden, calling the historic news a welcome milestone in combatting Covid-19 spread.

People are now changing from asking ‘will we ever see a vaccine?’ to asking the key question ‘when will we get a coronavirus vaccine?’ The UK Government has already placed an order for 10 million vaccination.

Who will get the vaccine first?

Who will benefit from recieving the vaccine and the requirement for a targetted and focusssed programme of immunisation may be on offer by even before Christmas its hoped. While there are still plenty of hurdles for Pfizer/BioNtech’s vaccine to surmount before it reaches the public, the job of deciding who will receive it first is already being decided.

The government has said if the vaccine works it will procure 10 million doses – so these will need to be focused on immunising the most vulnerable.

Scientists from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation have previously published a list of those who should be treated first with care home residents and staff among those at the top.

The list of people in order of priority should be:

  • Older adults in a care home and care home workers
  • All those aged 80 and over and health and social care workers, though they may move up the list
  • Anyone 75 years of age and over
  • People aged 70 and over
  • All those aged 65 and over
  • High-risk adults under 65 years of age
  • Moderate-risk adults under 65 years of age
  • All those aged 60 and over
  • All those 55 and over
  • All those aged 50 and over
  • The rest of the population, with priority yet to be determined

But the committee stressed this list was “not considered definitive” as more data is still being collected on at-risk groups.

Even the Police and army are already helping at testing centres in Liverpool. A senior police officer has confirmed discussions are under way to determine the location of mass Covid-19 vaccination centres in England.

Surrey Police chief constable Gavin Stephens said his police force and the Army are working out locations for possible vaccination sites, and that discussions will continue about who will access the vaccine when it becomes available “How many do you need to meet the capacity? What might be the phased roll-out? Who gets it first? All of those sorts of discussions are, of course, happening at national level,” he said, “And then there’s the question about whether you open them with testing sites or keep them separate from testing sites.

“All of that’s being actively worked out as we speak. When the time comes people are going to be very pleased to be able to go and get their vaccine.”

The UK Army has been working in Liverpool today on a mass testing programme
of over 23,000 people – picture courtesy of BBC News

Pfizer distances itself from Pence claim

Meanwhile in America US Vice-President Mike Pence, tweeted congratulations over the as did the current President, who in the past put more trust in more ‘suspicious’ treatment and both expressed their approval at the at Pfizer and BioNTech coronavirus vaccine 90% effecacy claim.

However Pfizer have rejected the idea of a US request on a public-private partnership forged by US President Donald Trump. Dr Kathrin Jansen, Pfizer’s head of vaccine development speaking to the New York Times “We were never part of the Warp Speed [the US initiative for developing and charging for a vaccine]” , claiming Pfizer have “never taken any money from the US government, or from anyone.”

Operation Warp Speed was set up in May by the Trump administration at a cost of $12bn with the aim of delivering a vaccine to every American by 2020 or early 2021.

Over in the UK, Pofessor Chris Whitty the government’s chief medical advisor called today’s news as a ‘reason for optimism’ he said the new vaccine demonstrates the “power of science” against Covid-19, adding “We must see the final safety and efficacy data, but it is very encouraging. It is essential we continue to suppress Covid, but it is a reason for optimism for 2021.”

Leave a Reply