An 87-year-old "local hero" GP will be among the first to receive the coronavirus sting as Britain launches its new super-weapon in the war on Covid today.
Thousands of Britons today will roll up their sleeves and take a picture of the new Pfizer push – a step that NHS leaders have dubbed the "first step back to normal".
The health service known as "V-Day" will launch the largest vaccination campaign in British history this morning at 50 hospital locations across the country.
Sir Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England, described the launch as "a milestone for the country and a momentous day for the NHS".
One of the first to take the coronavirus vaccine will be from Hari Shukla – a doctor with a plaque entitled "Local Boy" in his name and an OBE for his work on racial relations in his hometown of Newcastle.
Dr. Shukla and his wife Ranjan, 83, both receive the Pfizer push at the Royal Infirmary in Newcastle.
The Uganda-born retired teacher said, “I am so pleased that we will hopefully come towards the end of this pandemic and I am excited to be doing my part with the vaccine. I feel it is my duty to do so and do everything possible to help.
Pictured: Dr. Hari Shukla will be one of the first people in the world to be given a coronavirus vaccine
Dr. Shukla (87) (right) and his wife Ranjan (83) (left) both receive the Pfizer push at the Royal Infirmary in Newcastle
"After contacting the NHS staff, I know how hard they all work and I am grateful for all they have done to keep us safe during the pandemic."
After moving to town in 1974, Mr Shukla has spent much of his life promoting racial relations both as a volunteer and professionally.
He became director of the Tyne and Wear Racial Equality Council and worked tirelessly for three decades to reduce community tensions.
The UK is the European country hardest hit by the pandemic, with over 61,000 deaths from COVID-19. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, however, is hoping to turn the tide on the disease by launching the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine before the US or the European Union.
"It's a great relief because it's not an ordinary crisis," said Dr. Shukla.
About 800,000 doses are expected to be available in the first week, with nursing home residents and carers, the over 80s and some health care workers being the top priority to get the shots.
The UK is the European country hardest hit by the pandemic, with over 61,000 deaths from COVID-19. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, however, hopes to turn the tide on the disease by introducing Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine before the US or the European Union (file photo)
The UK daily Covid cases could slowly re-emerge, as official statistics suggested today, after health chiefs recorded another 14,718 infections – but deaths continue to decline
How people can "mix and match" Covid vaccines: British scientists will try to give people different types of shocks to boost different parts of their immune systems
Britons could combine coronavirus vaccines to stimulate different parts of their immune systems.
Scientists with the country's Vaccine Taskforce said yesterday they would try giving people one dose of one type of jolt and then a booster of another type.
All vaccines that are close to approval in the UK or already beyond the line require two doses each to be most effective at preventing Covid-19.
However, because they work in different ways, ingesting doses of different shocks can "maximize" the immune response and provide better, longer-lasting protection.
UK Vaccine Task Force leader Kate Bingham said researchers in the UK would begin trials of this method, known as "heterologous prime boost", over the next year.
The UK will today become the first country in the world to begin vaccinating the public against Covid-19 with a push from Pfizer and BioNTech approved by MHRA regulators after clinical studies suggested effectiveness of up to 95 percent .
Two other vaccines – from Oxford University and AstraZeneca, and the US pharmaceutical company Moderna – have also been successfully clinically tested. Oxfords is expected to be released by the NHS before the end of the year.
Ms. Bingham and colleagues from the UK Vaccine Taskforce announced their plans for the mix-and-match process in a briefing on Monday.
They said the idea was "not rocket science" and it was a long-standing theory that vaccines would work better that way, but it hadn't been tried in the real world.
Small studies could be organized that only last about two months, with people only receiving vaccines that have been shown to be safe and effective.
Only government-approved vaccines could be used, said task force vice chairman, drug research expert Dr. Clive Dix.
The thinking behind this is that different vaccines provoke different parts of the immune system – the main substances are antibodies and T cells.
Ms. Bingham said: “You would prime one vaccine, like your first stitch with one vaccine format, and then the second – whether it be 28 days or two months, or whatever the stipulated period would be with another Vaccine.
The reason for this is, for example, that virus-based vaccines trigger a much larger cellular response than, for example, mRNA.
'Antibodies block virus from being taken up into cells, and the T cells identify the infected cells and then remove them. So ideally you want to have both.
"The idea of mixing and combining is so that you can maximize the strength of this immune response to protect people from viral infections."
The mass vaccination program could fuel optimism that the world could turn a corner in the fight against the pandemic that has hit the global economy and killed more than 1.5 million people.
Dr. Shukla paid tribute to those who worked day and night to produce the shot and roll it out at unprecedented speed.
He said, “We are very grateful to you and proud of you for doing this.
“I'm not nervous or anything. I look forward to it. & # 39;
The current executive director of NHS England, Sir Simon Stevens, announced the introduction of the vaccine as a "turning point" in the fight against the pandemic.
He said the vaccine would protect the most vulnerable in society and pave the way for some restrictions to be relaxed by spring.
Hospital centers across the country now have stocks of Pfizer vaccines and will begin vaccinating over 80s, nursing home and health workers in the first wave of the program.
The main focus will be on people over 80 who have either been invited to the vaccine during an outpatient appointment or are inpatients in the hospital.
Nursing home staff are also invited into the first tranche of vaccines, with vacant appointments being made by NHS staff to ensure doses are not wasted.
Sir Simon writes in the mail that the NHS staff worked around the clock to cope with the enormous logistical challenge of using the Pfizer vaccine.
Urging readers to "play their part" and pick up the sting when offered, he said, "We can trust that we now have the tools to fight back this terrible virus."
He warned, however, that it will "take a few months to reach all those at risk" and urged the public to continue to take great care of themselves, their loved ones and the NHS.
His comments come as the Prime Minister said the UK is taking "a big step forward" in the fight against coronavirus.
Boris Johnson said he was "immensely proud" of the scientists who developed the vaccine, which was 95 percent effective in all age groups.
Sir Simon said delivery of the vaccine presents "complex logistical challenges" as it must be held at -70 ° C (-94 ° F) until needed and only moved a limited number of times.
But confident that the first doses will reach those most in need, he says months of careful planning have gone into this day.
To date, around 800,000 cans of the sting have been shipped to the UK, enough for 400,000 people.
Hospitals have been told that they are expected to do at least one box of vaccine (975 doses) in the first week.
After the first dose, patients will be given a vaccination card with the date of their crucial second dose, which must be given 21 days later for the vaccine to be fully effective.
Family doctors and other primary care staff were on standby to start delivering the sting next week.
Around 280 GP vaccine hubs are expected to begin administering the jab as of Monday. More practices will be added across the country in December.
They have been advised that they must use the vaccine within three and a half days, rather than the five days previously suggested, in order to comply with legal requirements set by MHRA, the UK medicines agency.
Mass vaccination centers on sports fields and conference centers are not expected to open until the New Year, when regulators have given the alternative Oxford / AstraZeneca push.
A graphic shows how the Pfizer push works by penetrating the patient's cells and causing the immune system to produce antibodies and activate T cells ready to destroy those infected with coronavirus
A graphic shows the order of priority in which the vaccine is introduced, starting with residents in nursing homes
Sir Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England, said the launch of the first coronavirus vaccine – dubbed "V-Day" – was a "milestone for the country and an important day for the NHS".
Hospitals have now cared for more than 190,000 seriously ill Covid 19 patients and, according to Sir Simon, have filled beds again in recent weeks.
Another 14,718 people tested positive for coronavirus, and another 189 deaths were reported yesterday.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the country could finally "collectively breathe a sigh of relief" if vaccinations begin today.
He said, “We will look back to today – V Day – as a key moment in our fight against this terrible disease, and I am proud that our health services are … on the verge of embarking on our largest vaccination program yet to take.
"Now is the time to sit tight and be patient until the NHS notifies you that it is time for your vaccination."
The Pfizer Vaccine: Questions and Answers
Is the vaccine definitely safe?
Yes. The vaccine was developed quickly, but it went through the same rigorous testing process as any other medicine before it was approved by regulators.
The Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) has stressed that no phase has been skipped, just accelerated because it is an emergency.
After the Ebola crisis, emergency funding mechanisms were put in place to quickly allocate money.
And new technologies – especially the mRNA process, which was previously only used in cancer treatments – have also accelerated the process.
Were the attempts big enough?
The Pfizer vaccine was tested on 43,500 people from different backgrounds in six countries. This is a large sample to base safety data on and no concerns have been raised. While the UK regulator was the first to approve this, it is expected that European and American guard dogs will follow suit very soon and give the green light.
What is an MRNA vaccine and can it affect the genetic code?
Injecting mRNA has nothing to do with the DNA of a human cell. The mRNA carries the genetic information of the Covid-19 virus and causes the body to produce some of the viral proteins itself.
It works by introducing a messenger RNA molecule into the body that instructs the body to make copies of the protein spikes on the Covid-19 virus. The immune system then learns to recognize and produce antibodies against the protein.
What are the reported side effects?
The side effects reported were mild, with the worst cases comparing them to a "severe hangover" that got better quickly. The most common side effects were fatigue (4 percent) and headache (2 percent) after the second dose, given 21 days after the first vaccine.
What about longer term?
While there might be problems that are still unknown, most vaccines show adverse side effects quickly. The most recent example was swine flu, where around 900 cases of narcolepsy were reported a few weeks after being vaccinated and people suddenly fell asleep.
However, this was still very rare. One study found that about one in 55,000 bumps was associated with narcolepsy. The MHRA has announced that it will actively monitor the introduction of the vaccine through its yellow card reporting system.
This way, anyone can report side effects that they believe were caused by the vaccine.
I had coronavirus. Do i need the vaccine?
Yes. A recent study by Public Health England found that levels of antibodies that neutralize a virus before it enters cells in the body dropped dramatically in many patients a few months after recovery.
In addition, the diversity of immune responses due to natural infection could be due to differences in the amount of virus the person was exposed to.
With a vaccine, everyone receives the same dose and therefore the same level of protection.
Why is it not offered to pregnant women?
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JVCI) has indicated that pregnant women are not receiving the vaccine due to the lack of data on the safety of Covid-19 vaccines in pregnancy.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy chief medical officer, said the pregnant woman guide was a precautionary measure and not a sign that the JCVI had identified a "terrible problem".
And no children?
It is normal for vaccines to be tested on adults before children, which would require an entirely separate pediatric testing program. Pfizer has now started testing its vaccine on children aged 12 and over.
SIMON STEVENS: V-Day is a historic moment … and you can play your part
BySimon Stevens Managing Director of NHS England for the Daily Mail
This is a milestone for our country and a significant day for the NHS as we launch the largest vaccination campaign in our history.
The NHS staff pulled out all the stops to prepare for V-Day.
When nurses give the first "pushes" this morning, it will be the culmination of months of hard work by many people at home and abroad and the recent NHS intervention to protect the public from Covid-19.
If the first push is given today, scientists, doctors, and health professionals together have accomplished in months what typically takes years.
So it is right to everyone who worked tirelessly to develop the vaccine, the volunteers who selflessly took part in the studies, and the professional regulators for the thorough work they did to make sure it was safe and secure to say a big thank you Effective.
This is a milestone for our country and a significant day for the NHS as we launch the largest vaccination campaign in our history, writes Sir Simon Stevens
Of course, it will take a few months to reach all of the people at risk as more vaccines are available online.
So in the meantime, we must continue to be very careful.
Too many of us have lost loved ones or seen them exposed to serious illness. And we have all endured the pain of separation, isolation, and fear that comes from taking necessary social distancing measures.
So after such a year of testing, we can trust that we now have the tools to fight back this horrific virus.
But as we celebrate progress, it is important that we don't give up our vigilance.
Following the instructions on “Hands, Face and Space” only becomes more important at the start of the Christmas season.
As everyone knows, prevention is better than cure.
Since the first cases were diagnosed in January, NHS staff have gone above and beyond to care for nearly 200,000 patients with Covid-19 while maintaining other vital services. NHS staff are rarely out and about, and today is only the first step back to normal.
The delivery of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine presents complex logistical challenges as it must be kept at -70 ° C until use and can only be moved a limited number of times after leaving the manufacturer.
For this reason, we're starting this week with vaccinations at 50 hospital centers and then expanding to other hospitals, general practitioners' practices and nursing homes in the coming weeks.
Community pharmacists and vaccination centers housed in sports venues and conference centers will stand up as more products come online in the New Year.
The NHS has been shown to have delivered vaccines against diseases such as tuberculosis, polio and meningitis.
The history of health care has been one of innovation, and employees are now showing the same agility in delivering the vaccine as they were during the first wave of infections, when hospitals were quickly reconfigured to respond to the pandemic.
Daily Mail readers can do their part. The NHS will contact you when it is your turn to receive the vaccine. And if you are contacted, please accept the offer.
As our doctors have said, this is a marathon, not a sprint, and delivering the program is the work of months rather than days or weeks.
When we look back today, we all in the healthcare sector hope that this marks a pivotal turning point in our collective fight against the coronavirus.
HOW DO THE OXFORD, MODERNA AND PFIZER / BIONTECH Vaccines compare?
Moderna and Pfizer / BioNTech have both released interim clinical trial results for their end-stage vaccines, both of which indicate that they are extremely effective.
Oxford University has published the results of its second phase showing that the sting induces an immune response and is safe to use. It's not yet clear how well it protects against coronavirus in the real world.
How to Compare:
PFIZER (US) & BIONTECH (DE)
mRNA vaccine – Genetic material from the coronavirus is injected to stimulate the immune system to make "spike" proteins and learn how to attack them.
mRNA vaccine – both Moderna, Pfizer and BioNTech vaccines work the same way.
Recombinant Viral Vector Vaccine – A harmless cold virus taken from chimpanzees has been engineered to produce the "spike" proteins and look like the coronavirus.
94.5% effective (90 positive in the placebo group, 5 positive in the vaccine group).
95% effective (160 positive in the placebo group, 8 positive in the vaccine group).
62% – 90% effective, depending on the dosage.
Moderna confirmed that countries placing smaller orders, such as the UK's five million cans, will pay between £ 24 and £ 28 per dose. The US has secured 100 million doses for $ 1.525 billion (£ 1.16 billion), suggesting it will cost $ 15.25 (11.57 pounds) per dose.
The US pays $ 1.95 billion (£ 1.48 billion) for the first 100 million doses, which is the equivalent of $ 19.50 (£ 14.80) per dose.
Estimated to cost £ 2.23 per dose. The UK's full 100 million dose supply could add up to just £ 223 million.
The UK has ordered five million cans that will be available from March 2021. Moderna will produce 20 million cans this year, which is expected to remain in the US.
The UK has already ordered 40 million cans, 10 million of which could be available in 2020. The first vaccinations are expected in December.
The UK has already ordered 100 million cans and is expected to come first to get the cans once approved.
What side effects does it cause?
Moderna said the vaccine was "generally safe and well tolerated". Most of the side effects were mild or moderate, but included pain, fatigue and headache, which "generally" were short-lived.
Pfizer and BioNTech did not provide a breakdown of the side effects, but said the Data Monitoring Committee "did not report any serious safety concerns."
Oxford said there were no serious safety concerns. Mild side effects were relatively common in small studies. Many participants reported that their arm hurt after the shock and that they later suffered from headache, fatigue, or muscle pain. Further data is collected.
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