The United Kingdom will start on Tuesday its biggest vaccination drive in history to combat the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), with the vaccine developed by American drugmaker Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech being sent to hospitals across the UK in super-cold containers on Sunday.
Around 800,000 doses of the vaccine are expected to be in place for the start of the rollout on Tuesday, a day that British Health Secretary Matt Hancock has reportedly dubbed as “V-Day,” a nod to triumphs in World War II.
“Despite the huge complexities, hospitals will kickstart the first phase of the largest scale vaccination campaign in our country’s history from Tuesday,” said Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England’s national medical director. “The first tranche of vaccine deliveries will be landing at hospitals by Monday in readiness.”
Last week the UK became the first country to authorize the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine for emergency use. In trials, the vaccine was shown to have around 95-percent efficacy. Vaccinations will be administered starting Tuesday at around 50 hospital hubs in England. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will also begin their vaccination rollouts the same day.
The United States hopes to start vaccinations later this month.
Russia on Saturday began vaccinating thousands of doctors, teachers and others at dozens of centers in Moscow with its Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine, which was approved over the summer after being tested in only a few dozen people. SOVEREIGNPH