- Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine got the green light from the UK regulator on December 2.
- Thousands of the most vulnerable Brits and healthcare workers were first in line for the vaccine from December 9.
- On Monday, certain family doctor clinics in the UK can start to immunize patients over 80 years old.
- Here’s what you need to know about the next stage of the UK vaccination programme.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Hundreds of family doctor practices in the UK will start to roll out Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, as the next stage of the government’s mass vaccination program begins.
The UK was the first country in the world to approve the vaccine and began immunizing patients on December 9. The government’s initial plan was for hospitals to administer the vaccine for those patients who are considered most at risk from catching the virus, as well as eligible healthcare workers.
This is the second phase of the national vaccination program.
“Practices in more than 100 parts of the country are taking delivery of the vaccine today, with some kicking off their clinics this afternoon and the majority starting on Tuesday,” NHS England said in a statement on Monday.
Britain has been the worst-hit country in Europe by COVID-19, with 64,000 deaths and 1.85 million cases so far, according to Johns Hopkins University. England is home to over 55 million of the United Kingdom’s 65 million inhabitants.
Here’s what you need to know about Britain’s COVID-19 vaccine roll-out.
Who can get the vaccine?
Those aged 80 and over have been identified as priority groups for the COVID-19 vaccine from family doctors, by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, an independent government advisory body. Care home residents will likely be able to get a shot later this week.
“We won’t be vaccinating everyone all at once â€” it will be a relatively small number at first,” professor Martin Marshall, who is chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said in a statement on Monday.
“But as long as there is supply, GPs and our teams at selected sites will start vaccinating people this week, starting with our most vulnerable patients,” he said.
Marshall urged people not to contact their family doctor clinic to enquire about vaccination. Instead, clinics will contact people in the priority groups when it is their turn to receive it.
Where can you get it?
Not all family doctor clinics will be rolling out Pfizer’s shot. Groups of family doctor clinics, known as Primary Care Networks, will set up designated facilities to inject their patients. The exact number is vague, but NHS England said in a statement on Monday that it is “more than 100.” NHS England did not disclose a list of the centres to Business Insider.
How long will a COVID-19 vaccine appointment take?
The business manager from a family doctor clinic in the south of England told Business Insider that COVID-19 vaccine appointments range from 7-10 minutes, depending on the clinic. All patients must stay for 15 minutes after receiving their shot for observation, following the advice from the UK regulator, the Medicines and Human products Agency.
Can I choose my vaccine?
It’s not yet clear how the possible imminent approval of AstraZeneca’s rival vaccine will impact the rollout. The UK government has ordered 40 million shots of Pfizer’s vaccine, and 100 million doses of AstraZeneca’s. Public Health England told Business Insider on Monday the committee will update its advice as new vaccines become available.
Who is next?
NHS England hasn’t confirmed the rationale behind its approach, but said in a statement on Monday that “more practices and community pharmacies in other parts of England [will be] joining on a phased basis during December and in the coming months.”
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