The United Kingdom began its vaccination campaign against Covid-19 on Tuesday, December 8. Priority audiences, storage, distribution … what is the UK government’s strategy?
An unprecedented vaccination campaign
Hard hit by the pandemic of coronavirus, the UK launched its vaccination campaign on Tuesday, December 8. It is the first country in the world to have already authorized the vaccine of the American-German Pfizer / BioNTech alliance. This unprecedented campaign is the largest ever carried out by the country’s public health service. It opens in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. NHS Medical Director Stephen Powis talks about an operation akin to “a marathon”.
The quantity of vaccines ordered
The UK ordered 40 million doses of vaccine Pfizer. They will protect 20 million inhabitants, two doses being necessary for each person. The British government would also have reserved around 357 million doses, pending authorization, from seven manufacturers.
Priority to nursing homes
To begin with, priority was given to residents and staff of nursing homes. Afterwards, the second category concerns other caregivers and those over 80. The over 75s (3rd group) will follow, then the over 70s and very vulnerable young adults (4th group), lists the information site Politico. Those over 65 are in the 5th group, while the 6th group includes all people aged 16 to 64 with health problems. The following groups will descend in stages.
Transport and storage of vaccines
In terms of storage, the country also faces a huge challenge. The vaccine from the Belgian plant in Puurs, for example, can only stay for five days in a normal refrigerator. It should be stored at -70 ° C. The transport and storage of these vaccines therefore require a special device. The Pfizer vaccine being delicate, it will also be necessary to limit transport times from Belgium. The authorities intend to use the Royal Air Force, the British air force, to ensure the deliveries.
Hospital “hubs” in place for the countryside
About fifty “hubs” hospitals have been set up in England for the administration of the first doses of coronavirus vaccine. The Ministry of Health has said that a thousand vaccination centers will soon be created. The authorities also note the importance of a pedagogy to convince the British to be vaccinated. If 28% of the population are “very confident” , 40% are “fairly confident”, 23% are not “not very confident” or “not at all confident”, according to a YouGov poll.
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