Care home residents and staff are set to be first in line for any Covid-19 vaccine that is approved by regulators, England’s deputy chief medical officer has said.
The Government has procured 40 million doses of Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine, with 10 million doses being manufactured and available to the UK by the end of the year – if the vaccine is approved by regulators.
Vaccine experts advising the Government have previously published a detailed list of who should get any Covid-19 jab first.
This covers 20 million people because the vaccine needs two doses.
In a press briefing at Downing Street yesterday evening (November 9), Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said: “If you look at the staggering likelihood of hospitalisation or death, with increasing age and in the elderly, I predict very strongly that there will be a very significant demand in the elderly for this vaccine.
“The vast majority of hospitalisation and death is being driven by the elderly and that hospitalisation rates rise very dramatically after the age of 50″.
Professor Van-Tam said the independent body, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) “will guide the government on the priorities” of who gets the vaccine but a “preliminary priority list” shows “age is the biggest priority”.
The interim guidance states that priority should be given to:
– 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.
The vaccine, developed by US drug company Pfizer and German firm BioNTech, has been tested on 43,500 people in six countries, with 22,000 having received the vaccine.
Two doses per person are required, and trials of the vaccine in Germany, Brazil, Turkey, south Africa, and America the US, reveal 90 per cent protection is achieved seven days after a second dose. The data is based on only the first 94 volunteers to develop COVID.
Speaking today Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that the NHS is ready to start providing the new coronavirus vaccine “as fast as safely possible”,
Asked whether it could be available by Christmas, he said that was “absolutely a possibility”, but he expected the mass roll-out “in the first part of next year”.
The Health Secretary also said vaccination clinics would be open seven days a week, and he was giving GPs an extra £150m.
He did however urge people to be patient. “We just don’t know” how many people will need to be vaccinated before life can return to normal, Mr Hancock added.