Pfizer vaccine: 50 hospitals across UK set up and waiting to receive jab in days
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said there are 50 hospitals across UK already set up and waiting to receive the coronavirus vaccine within days
His comments come after the first vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech was approved for clinical use by regulators.
It could mean the first people are given vaccines from as early as Monday.
Mr Hancock said there would be “three modes of delivery” of the vaccine.
He said: “50 hospitals across the country are already set up and waiting to receive the vaccine as soon as it’s approved, so that can now happen.
“Also vaccination centres, which will be big centres where people can go to get vaccinated. They are being set up now.
“There will also be a community rollout, including GPs and pharmacists.
“Now, of course, because of the -70C storage conditions of this vaccine, they will be able to support this rollout where they have those facilities.
“But they’ll also be there should the AstraZeneca vaccine be approved because that doesn’t have these cold storage requirements and so is operationally easier to roll out.”
He added: “We’re the first country in the world to have a clinically-authorised vaccine to roll out.”
He went on: “So from early next week we will start that programme of vaccinating people against Covid-19 here in this country.
“And as we know from earlier announcements, this vaccine is effective. The MHRA have approved it as clinically safe. And we have a vaccine, so it’s very good news.”
He said he’d spoken to health ministers in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to share the news and plans for the rollout.
He went on: “The Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation is the clinical committee that advises the Government on the priority and who gets the vaccine in what order.
“They will be setting out details of that prioritisation later this morning, along with the MHRA, who will set out the clinical details behind this vaccine and why they’ve taken the decision to authorise it. That will happen mid-morning so that people can see all of the details.
“And also that prioritisation, which is set out according to clinical need.
“We’ve been supporting people who are clinically extremely valuable to Covid throughout this crisis.”
But he said a vaccine passport a vaccine passport “isn’t part of our plan”.
“While we know that this vaccine protects you from getting ill with Covid – we don’t yet know how much it stops you transmitting Covid until we roll it out broadly,” he said.
“We will, of course, be monitoring that very carefully.
“Therefore, we will vaccinate according to protecting the people who need the protection most, according to those who are vulnerable from Covid.
“So, that is part of the plan. The plan is to get this rolled out, according to the clinical prioritisation that the advisers will set out.”