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Coronavirus UK: Britain is the envy of the world as Covid vaccine launches


The UK today started mass vaccinating the public with Pfizer / BioNTech's Covid vaccine, bringing the end of pandemic lockdown rules in sight.

This is where MailOnline answers all questions about the sting, including who gets it first, how much it costs and where people get vaccinated.

What could be the logistical challenges in delivery?

Both Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned that the transportation and storage of Pfizer's breakthrough would not be easy, while Chris Hopson, executive director of NHS Providers, said the logistics behind the mass launch were "impressive".

The problems arise from the fact that the vaccine has to be stored long-term at -70 ° C.

In order to keep the cans at this extremely low temperature, they have to be packed with dry ice and placed in a special transport box the size of a suitcase with 5,000 cans.

These containers can prevent the vaccines from spoiling for 10 days if left unopened.

Once the batches arrive at the vaccination centers, they can be stored in standard medical refrigerators between 2 ° C and 8 ° C for up to five days.

Or they can be kept in their shipping boxes for up to 30 days if the containers are filled with dry ice at least once a week.

Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething said the logistical problems "in practice at the time meant we could not deliver this vaccine to nursing homes".

The sticking point for delivering the sting to places like nursing homes could be that BioNTech says the vaccine can only be stored between 2 ° C and 8 ° C for six hours during transit without it falling off.

Since the Pfizer suitcases contain 5,000 doses of vaccine, smaller amounts would have to be removed from the dry ice suitcases for transport to nursing homes.

But once they're on the go, the cans could die off after six hours. It is unclear exactly why this is the case.

Who is at the top of the list to get a coronavirus vaccine?

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) has been looking into data on who has the worst effects of the coronavirus and who is at the highest risk of death.

According to the JCVI guidelines, the order of priority should be as follows.

1. Residents of a nursing home for older adults and their carers

2. Anyone aged 80 or over who are on the front lines in health and social care

3. Everyone aged 75 and over

4th All persons over the age of 70 and clinically extremely vulnerable persons, with the exception of pregnant women and persons under 18 years of age

5. Everyone aged 65 and over

6th Adults aged 18 to 65 in a risk group such as pathologically obese

7th Everyone aged 60 and over

8th. Everyone aged 55 and over

9. Everyone aged 50 and over

However, due to the logistical issues noted above, nursing homes cannot receive the vaccines immediately, so elderly NHS patients, caregivers, and NHS workers receive the first doses.

Where do people get the vaccine from and who will give it?

Behind the scenes, work has been going on to ensure that NHS staff will be ready by early December to deliver vaccines to those most at risk.

Vaccinations began today in 70 NHS hospitals and the operation will be expanded in the coming days and weeks.

Nightingale hospitals and sports stadiums have been prepared as sites for mass vaccination clinics, while general practitioners and pharmacists will also be involved in the mammoth army-backed operation to deliver the sting.

The government has also put in place new regulations that will allow more health care workers – and NHS volunteers – to give flu and potential Covid-19 vaccines. You will be monitored by a healthcare professional.

NHS England stated that GPs offering vaccines must be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week, including public holidays if there is a reason to do so, e.g.

A letter sent to all practices indicates that some staff may need to vaccinate patients on Christmas Day. It is expected that vaccination sites can deliver at least 1,000 shocks per week. The vaccination contract begins next Tuesday and GPs will receive £ 25.16 for every two puffs they give.

Volunteers with no medical training can use the GoodSAM app to get involved in injections with St. John Ambulance. The role description states: “Voluntary vaccines are trained to give a patient a vaccination. You are also ready to act if a patient experiences a side effect. & # 39;

Attempts are also made to volunteer for vaccination care. They help patients get to the right place for their thrust and are available to provide first aid if someone is uncomfortable.

Voluntary patient advocates, the third type of caregiver, will "focus on patient welfare through their experience".

How many doses of Pfizer vaccine has the UK bought?

The UK has received 40 million doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine, with 10 million due in the UK by the end of the year. 800,000 cans are already in the country and can be used.

Patients need two doses, which means number 10 has only secured enough doses for about a third of the UK.

However, it is likely that other vaccines, including one from Oxford University, from which the UK bought 100 million doses, will be approved in the coming weeks and months.

How long does it protect you?

Regulators announced today that there was evidence of "partial immunity" just seven days after the first dose, offering a glimmer of hope that the roll-out could have an impact starting next week before Christmas.

However, they insisted that the best immunity comes seven days after the second dose given three weeks after the first.

It remains a mystery how long immunity to Covid lasts. Top scientists warn that people like the flu may need to be vaccinated against the disease every winter.

What kind of vaccine is it?

The sting is known as a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine.

Traditional vaccines are made using weakened forms of the virus, but mRNAs only use the virus' genetic code.

An mRNA vaccine is injected into the body, where it enters the cells and prompts them to produce antigens. These antigens are recognized by the immune system and prepare it to fight the coronavirus.

What are the benefits of this type of vaccine?

No actual virus is needed to make an mRNA vaccine. This means that the speed at which it can be made is accelerated dramatically. As a result, mRNA vaccines have been touted as a potentially quick fix to new infectious disease outbreaks.

In theory, they can also be modified relatively quickly if, for example, a virus develops mutations and begins to change. mRNA vaccines are also cheaper to make than traditional vaccines, although both will play important roles in fighting Covid-19.

Where is the vaccine made?

Pfizer's butt is manufactured at the company's facility in Belgium and at separate locations in the USA.

BioNTech – the other pharmaceutical company involved in the vaccine – has two production facilities in Germany, where cans are expected to be produced from New Year onwards.

Can the vaccine be transported in the refrigerator?

Yes, although the vaccine should be stored at -70 ° C to ensure long-term preservation, if refrigerated between 2 ° C and 8 ° C, it can be transported by car or van.

According to the latest data from BioNTech, the company that owns the vaccine, it can only be safely used within six hours of thawing if it is transported in the refrigerator.

Researchers say this would allow the vaccine to be given to high-risk populations who may not be able to visit vaccination centers like nursing home residents. However, it is also said that the vaccine will remain stable and viable for up to five days when stored in a stationary refrigerator at 2-8 ° C, as in a family doctor's office.

The only difference between the two scenarios is that one is cooled and transported while the other is not moved while it is cooled.

Why this difference shortens the shelf life of the vaccine is currently unclear.

At a virtual press conference today, the vaccine developers announced that the restrictions would be relaxed if more data were collected. This shows that the limit values ​​are currently too cautious to ensure the vaccine reaches the most vulnerable people in society without its efficacy deteriorating.

Are you sure?

All vaccines are rigorously tested and monitored by experienced regulators.

Some believe that mRNA vaccines are safer for the patient as they do not rely on any element of the virus to be injected into the body. mRNA vaccines were tested in the laboratory and on animals before moving to human studies.

The human mRNA vaccine trials, involving tens of thousands of people around the world, have been underway since early 2020 to show whether they are safe and effective.

Pfizer will continue to collect data on safety and long-term outcomes from participants for two years.

Can you get the Covid vaccine privately?

The Queen and the rest of the royal family will not be able to queue for a Covid-19 vaccine, and even Boris Johnson will have to wait for his turn. This was announced last month.

According to the government, no one will receive "special treatment" once the country launches its mass vaccination campaign.

Even wealthy companies won't be able to skip the line, despite fears that wealthy companies would buy vaccines outright to get their employees back to work and make up for the money bleeding during the lockdown.

Could employers force staff to get vaccinated?

According to lawyers, it is "highly unlikely" that private employers could force employees to get a covid bump when one is finally available.

Although most of the UK must be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity and stop the spread of the disease, a sting cannot be given without people's consent.

Attorneys at global law firm Morgan Lewis said it was unlikely that companies in the UK could start enforcing vaccinations.

They said, “A vaccine can only be lawfully given if the person agrees to such treatment. It is highly questionable whether an employee will consent to treatment under any coercion of his employer. "

Will I get a vaccination certificate if I get the sting?

Immunity passes have been touted as the key to getting parts of society back to normal life and enabling millions to evade restrictions. This is because they would indicate that someone is protected against the virus and can fight it off without getting seriously sick or dying.

Bars, cinemas and football stadiums could turn away Britons who have not been vaccinated against coronavirus, suggested British vaccination minister Nadhim Zahawi.

But ministers have since denied that Britons need "immunity certificates" to go to the pub. Michael Gove was asked during a round of interviews yesterday if people need to prove that they have been given coronavirus vaccines to enter bars and restaurants. He replied flatly: "No."

When asked if they might be needed in theaters or sports centers, he said, "No, I don't think so, no."

Mr Hancock said today that a vaccination record is "not part of our plan". He told Sky News, "Although we know this vaccine will protect you from getting sick with Covid, we don't yet know how much it will prevent you from transmitting Covid until we roll it out."

It doesn't take long to make vaccines?

In the past, it took years, sometimes decades, to make a vaccine.

Traditionally, vaccine development involves various processes, including the design and development phases, followed by clinical trials that need self-approval before they even begin.

In the studies for a Covid-19 vaccine, however, it looks a little different. A process that normally takes years has been cut down to months.

While the early design and development phases look similar, the clinical trial phases overlap rather than occur sequentially.

And drug companies started manufacturing before final approval was given – and ran the risk that they might be forced to scrap their work.

The new way of working allows regulators around the world to start reviewing scientific data earlier than before.

Are there no other vaccines?

Yes, recent data from the Oxford / AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccine studies suggest that their candidates are also highly effective.

Oxford data shows the vaccine is 62 percent effective when given a full dose followed by another full dose.

However, when people were given half a dose followed by a full dose at least a month later, the data showed that efficacy rose to 90 percent. However, the groundbreaking results of trials with the Oxford University vaccine were based on "shaky science," experts warned.

The combined analysis of both dosage regimens showed an average effectiveness of 70.4 percent.

The final results of the Moderna vaccine trials suggest it has 94.1 percent effectiveness and 100 percent effectiveness against severe Covid-19.

Nobody vaccinated with the vaccine known as mRNA-1273 developed a severe coronavirus.

A graphic of EU, US, Canada, UK, Japan, and Australia vaccine orders

Which push is best?

The early competitors all have high rates of effectiveness, but researchers say it's difficult to make direct comparisons because it's not yet known exactly what each of the studies is measuring.

Analysis shows that the Pfizer vaccine can prevent 95 percent of people from getting Covid-19, 94 percent of whom are in older age groups.

A technician inspects vials of BNT162b2 vaccine candidate for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a Pfizer manufacturing facility in the St. Louis, Missouri facility

A technician inspects vials of BNT162b2 vaccine candidate for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a Pfizer manufacturing facility in the St. Louis, Missouri facility

The vaccine has been tested on 43,500 people in six countries and no safety concerns were raised. The approval means the UK can begin rolling out the vaccine for those most in need, including frontline NHS workers.

How many cans of other bumps has Britain secured?

The UK has secured access to 100 million doses of the AstraZeneca / Oxford University vaccine, which is almost enough for most of the population.

A deal for seven million cans of the batch offered by Moderna in the US was also belatedly closed.

The offerings for 357 million doses of seven different vaccines cover four different classes: adenoviral vaccines, mRNA vaccines, inactivated whole virus vaccines and protein adjuvant vaccines.

What does Pfizer's vaccine cost?

Pfizer / BioNTech makes its vaccine available for non-profit purposes.

According to reports, the Moderna vaccine could cost around $ 38 (£ 28) per dose, and the Pfizer candidate could cost around $ 20 (£ 15).

The researchers suggest that the Oxford vaccine could be relatively cheap to make, with some reports suggesting it could be around £ 3 per dose.

AstraZeneca said it will not sell it for a profit so it can be available to all countries.

However, the details of the dealings conducted by the UK government were not made public.

What is the common procedure for developing a vaccine?

Traditionally, vaccines development takes several years and involves various processes, including the design and development phases, followed by clinical trials, which in and of themselves need to be approved before they even begin.

The experiments take place in three successive phases – also known as phases. Research will show whether a vaccine creates antibodies but also protects people from disease. They also identify any security issues.

After the studies are complete, the information gathered by the researchers is sent to the regulators for review. This is thoroughly analyzed by clinicians and scientists before it is approved for wide use. After regulatory approval, people can get the vaccine.

Is that different because of the pandemic?

In the studies for a Covid vaccine, the procedure looks a little different.

While the early design and development phases look similar, the clinical trial phases have overlapped – rather than one after the other.

But doesn't that mean security is at risk?

Although some phases of the clinical trial process were parallel rather than sequential, the safety checks were still the same as for any new drug.

The Regulatory Authority for Medicines and Health Products (MHRA) has adopted the term "safety is our catchphrase".

The regulatory authorities have announced that they will "strictly assess" the data and evidence submitted regarding the safety, quality and effectiveness of the vaccine.

In most clinical trials, safety issues are usually identified in the first two to three months – a period that has already passed for most vaccine front-runners.

How do regulators act so quickly?

The regulators have carried out ongoing reviews, which means they have been given access to the data as the scientists work, rather than going through tons of information at the end of the studies.

A rolling review of vaccine data began a few months ago.

This means regulators can start reviewing scientific data earlier than before, which in turn means the approval process can be accelerated. Regulators sometimes have thousands of pages of information to go through with a fine tooth comb – which understandably takes time.

As soon as all the data available on the vaccine are available, the MHRA experts will carefully and scientifically review the safety, quality and effectiveness data – how they protect people from Covid-19 and what level of protection they offer.

Once this is done, advice will be sought from the government's independent advisory body, the Commission for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHM).

What does "approved for use" mean?

In order for a medicine to be used in the UK, it must be licensed. This means that all rigorous safety and efficacy tests have been passed and the regulatory authorities are confident of the results of the clinical trials.

By reviewing the data as it becomes available, the MHRA can come to an earlier opinion on whether or not the medicine or vaccine should be approved without compromising the thoroughness of its review.

What data would the regulatory authority have looked at?

The information provided to the MHRA includes what the vaccine contains, how it works in the body, how well it works, what side effects it has and who it is for.

This data must include the results of all animal and human clinical studies, manufacturing and quality controls, batch production consistency, and review of the final product specification.

The factories that manufacture the vaccines are also inspected before a license can be granted to ensure that the product supplied is of the same consistently high standard.

Husband and wife Ugur Sahin and Oezlem Tuereci are behind the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine that could change the world

Husband and wife Ugur Sahin and Oezlem Tuereci are behind the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine that could change the world

Regulators review batches of data before approving vaccines (inventory).

Regulators review batches of data before approving vaccines (inventory).

What is the difference between the MHRA and the CHM?

The MHRA is the UK regulator for drugs and medical devices that ensures their safety, quality and effectiveness.

The CHM advises ministers on pharmaceuticals. It consists of an independent group of advisors who are responsible for providing advice on the need for and content of risk management plans for new drugs.

It also advises officials on the impact of new safety issues on the balance between the risks and benefits of approved drugs.

The CHM also offers advice on “Applications for national and European marketing authorization”.

Haven't pharmaceutical companies already started making vaccines?

Yes. As a rule, production and sales on a large scale only begin after regulatory approval. In the case of Covid-19 vaccines, however, pharmaceutical companies started manufacturing before final approval was granted – and ran the risk that they could be forced to cancel their jobs.

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