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Coronavirus vaccine: NHS preparing to administer Pfizer/BioNTech jabs as Britain orders enough for a third of population

The NHS is preparing to administer Covid-19 vaccines from early December.

Health minister Matt Hancock gave the order this morning after it was revealed yesterday Pfizer and BioNTech's drug candidate was 90% effective in preventing the virus in trials.

KMTV reports on the latest

The news has been welcomed by local GPs including Dr Julian Spinks who said: "GP practices are being asked to work together to prepare for possibly starting to vaccinate as early as the beginning of December.

"The big hopes is we can vaccinate some of the most at risk for the winter months and reduce pressure on the NHS and save lives.

"We have got to wait until we have enough people vaccinated before we can really get back to normal but it does add our ability to fight this virus."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says Britain has ordered 40million doses of the vaccines for a third of the population.

Those most at risk of caching the virus like the elderly and health workers are thought to be the first to get it.

But Mr Johnson reminded people it is still early days and warned people not to "rely on this news as a solution" to the pandemic.

He urged continued social distancing, wearing of masks and hand sanitising as the UK endures its second lockdown through November.

The Covid-19 vaccine could be rolled out from early December. Stock picture
The Covid-19 vaccine could be rolled out from early December. Stock picture

It took just ten months for the Pfizer vaccine to be developed. In contrast, a traditional jab would take between ten to 15 years to develop.

The breakthrough was the work of BioNTech husband and wife physicians Ugur Sahin and Oezlem Tuereci. Pfizer bank-rolled the development and research.

Pfizer has a base in Sandwich where scientists are working in the same labs that Viagra was discovered to develop a treatment for Covid patients.

It was reported there were tears of joy and celebrations as the interim findings were announced to Pfizer employees, the company's chief scientific officer said.

Mikael Dolsten said his colleagues were "screaming" with excitement as they were told about the trial results.

The companies expect 50 million vaccine doses will be made in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021 if it gets emergency use authorization (EUA).

Drug regulators must now wait for safety data out later this month before they can grant emergency approval for widespread use. There have been a further 21,350 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, bringing the total number of cases to 1,213,363.

Another 194 people have died within 28 days of testing positive for COVID-19, meaning there have now been a total of 49,238 deaths.

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