UK takes delivery of first batch of covid-19 vaccine jab
Untied Kingdom on Wednesday became the first Western country to approve a Covid-19 vaccine for general use as it announced a rollout of Pfizer-BioNTech’s drug from next week.
A refrigerated truck was seen leaving the Pfizer manufacturing plant in Puurs, Belgium, on Thursday morning, thought to be en route to the UK. Earlier, deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam said the delivery was arriving in Britain “within hours”. “I do mean hours not days,” he added shortly before 9.30am.
Officials at Pfizer and in Whitehall were keeping tight-lipped because of security concerns. Interpol has warned that criminal gangs could try to steal the vaccine. The arrival spells joy for the families of elderly people, NHS and care home staff and those made vulnerable by medical conditions, who will be among the first in the queue. It came as:
* Fears that care home residents would miss out on the first wave were eased when Professor Van-Tam indicated that the more robust Oxford vaccine would be carried directly into residential homes by NHS vaccination teams if it gets approval.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam told BBC Radio 5 Live phone-in on Thursday that Britain’s health chiefs expect to receive the newly-approved Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine “very, very shortly”, adding: “I do mean hours, not days.”
His comments come after a Government minister predicted that the country will defeat the virus “by the spring”, thanks to the imminent rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson gave his optimistic analysis as he offered a “cast-iron guarantee” that GCSE and A-level exams will go head next year after it emerged that pupils in England will be awarded more generous grades and receive advanced notice of exam topics in a bid to “boost fairness”.