UK hospitals have been told to prepare to receive the first batch of a COVID-19 vaccine in just 10 days time, while medical frontliners are expected to be the first to take it.
The Guardian reported that hospitals in England could receive the first roll-out of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine as early as Monday 7th December, after anticipated regulatory approvals.
NHS staff will be first to get the jab because of the nature of the Pfizer vaccine. Experts believe it can only be moved a limited number of times, so transporting it to care and elderly homes is set to be an arduous task.
Officials think that if it is moved more than four times, it risks becoming ineffective. By the time it reaches hospitals in the UK, it would have already been moved twice – from the production plants of Pfizer in Belgium to storage hubs in Britain and then to its hospitals.
Care home residents and elderly people may have to wait for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. Unlike the Pfizer treatment, it doesn’t have to be frozen at -70C, can be stored in normal fridges and is easily moved around by those who will administer the jab.
Meanwhile, Malta has ordered enough doses of potential COVID-19 vaccines to vaccinate the entire population within a span of six months and will be one of the first countries to receive the jab. Prime Minister Robert Abela said that the nation expects to receive the first batch as early as January.
As part of deals negotiated by the European Commission, Malta has so far been assured of a stock of vaccines from AstraZeneca, Sanofi and Johnson & Johnson. Negotiations are ongoing with Purevac, Moderna, and BioNtech and Pfizer.
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