The first batch of Pfizer / BioNTech vaccines have been delivered to the UK, expected to have 800,000 doses, given to patients 80 years of age and older from this week.
The vaccine batches were delivered to the UK on December 6 in ultracold containers, two days before being included in the world’s first public vaccination program with the Pfizer vaccine.
Immunization will be done at about 50 hospital centers in the UK. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland also started their vaccinations on December 8.
Governments and health authorities around the world will monitor the UK immunization program to document its successes and failures and tailor its plans accordingly. The US hopes to begin vaccination later this month.
Louise Coughlan, chief pharmacist at Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, said it was “very proud”, after being commissioned to receive the vaccine.
The first people to be vaccinated were patients 80 years of age or older who were on outpatient care in a hospital and who were discharged after a long period of treatment. Hospitals will invite groups of people over 80 years of age to get vaccinations and work with nursing homes to bring medical staff to on-site vaccinations. Healthcare workers at high risk of Covid-19 will be scheduled for an injection without notice. People who get the first shot will get a second shot 21 days later.
He has ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine that can inject 20 million people. The UK government only vaccines people over the age of 16 so about 55 million people will qualify. He bought a total of 357 million doses of seven vaccine candidates, of which 100 million doses of Oxford vaccine are cheaper and less effective than the vaccine Pfizer or Moderna.
Now that the first batch of vaccines are delivered from Pfizer’s production facility in Belgium, necessary tests are carried out by a professional medical logistics company to ensure no damage in transit. This may take a day.
Each vaccine container contains 5 packs of 975 doses, to be opened and manually packed at specially licensed locations. After that, the vaccine will be ready for delivery to hospitals.
The delivery of the Pfizer vaccine is complicated because it needs to be stored at super-cold temperatures, around minus 70 degrees Celsius. Fortunately, the vaccines are stable at normal refrigerator temperatures, or 2-8 degrees C for a few. days, meaning can store on site. After thawing the vaccine, more time is needed to prepare the injection.
The Public Health sector in the UK has secured 58 ultra-low temperature freezers to stock up on about 5 million doses. These refrigerators were not portable, each containing approximately 86,000 doses.
Vaccines are not only provided by hospitals. Local clinics and health care centers are also put on hold to begin distributing vaccines, in small numbers, scheduled to start Dec. 14.
In the first phase of the immunization program, Britain divided nine separate groups of people on the list, with a preference for those aged 50 and over. Overall, the UK expects 99% of people at risk of dying from Covid-19 to be vaccinated in the early stages.
Last week, the UK became the first country to allow the use of the Pfizer / BioNtech vaccine in emergencies.
Chile (Follow AP)