The United Kingdom has reportedly approved a new vaccine meant to counter the deadly effects of the coronavirus disease that has literally hobbled the world for nearly a year, in the process infecting 64.8 million people globally and claiming 1.5 million lives (figures as of Dec. 03, 3030).
According to the BBC, the British government last week gave the go-signal for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, thereby paving the way for mass vaccination which would hopefully revitalize their crippled economy and bring life back to the way it was before.
This would make Great Britain the first country in the world to roll-out such a vaccine, beating out other formidable competitors in the US, China, Russia, Switzerland, France and Germany.
Since many UK hospitals have the freezers needed to store the drugs at the required minus 70C, the first vaccinations are expected to take place within this week for home care staffers, National Health Service personnel and patients – with an initial 800,000 doses scheduled for immediate delivery; but the bulk of the work will be carried out in 2021.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon revealed that the first people in Scotland would also be immunized starting this week.
The UK has already placed an initial order with Pfizer for 40 million doses, enough for 20 million people. The new vaccine is alleged to offer up to 95 percent protection against Covid19.
The vaccine, reports said, may be made available in the United States by Dec. 15, pending approval by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with health care workers and long-term nursing home residents among the very first beneficiaries.
As this developed, FDA administrator Eric Domingo said the country may get its fair share of anti-Covid vaccines from other sources as early as the first quarter of 2021, if plans don’t miscarry.
Domingo said the FDA may have to issue emergency use authorization for all credible vaccine candidates by this coming January 2021 to facilitate a nationwide immunization program by March, or earlier.
Although Pfizer’s product is for now out of the question as there are no facilities locally to store them at such a low temperature.
President Duterte has earlier signed Executive Order 121 allowing the FDA to issue emergency use authorization that would hasten the availability and distribution of all Covid19 vaccines and drugs that may appear.
Earlier, the Department of Health (DOH) said it would take some 3 to 5 years to vaccinate some 60 million Filipinos, or nearly 50 percent of the population.
Photo: New Atlas