Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I have some tea and it involves the Coronavirus Vaccination.
British health officials put out the first injections as a turning point in the fight against a virus that has infected 67 million people around the globe, killing more than 1.54 million.
Thousands of nurses, pharmacists and medical technicians, bolstered by legions of volunteers and members of the British military, will safeguard, transport, unpack and jab millions of doses into the upper arms of a nation grown weary of lockdowns and loneliness, anxiety and sickness.
The ultimate goal is to inoculate enough people to confer individual immunity and eventually stop the virus’s spread. But until more vaccine doses are available and other vaccines are approved, officials here and elsewhere are balancing the need to protect the most vulnerable against the need to slow transmission.
Simon Stevens who is the chief executive for NHS England, said this would be the “largest vaccination program this country has ever seen.” He cautioned that it was a marathon, not a sprint.
“But if we all stay vigilant in the weeks and months ahead, we will be able to look back at this as a decisive turning point in the battle against the virus,” he said.
The country has preordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer product, enough to immunize 20 million people, as two doses are required, three weeks apart. It has also hedged its bets and reserved another 300 million doses of five vaccines in development.
Excluded from the initial round will be most front line hospital workers. Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said high risk hospital staff in Britain will be offered “any leftover spare doses” at the end of each day.
Even for Britain’s highest priority groups, demand could quickly outstrip supply in the early months, public health officials warned.
British regulators, granted emergency approval, said it cannot be moved more than four times and that the trays of 975 doses packed in dry ice cannot be split apart. Hopson said the first trays are being delivered from the freezers at National Health Service warehouses to 50 hospitals in England. Similar efforts are underway in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
NHS officials said primary care physicians are providing lists of people over 80 who are mobile enough to get to a hospital clinic, and hospital appointment bookers are calling those people for timed 15 minute slots. Some afternoon slots will be reserved for nursing home staffers, who are being contacted by their employers.
Vaccination will take place in separate, dedicated clinics at the hospitals, so the elderly and others who come in do not come in contact with patients who might be infected with the virus.
A 90 year old woman received her injection, at University Hospital in Coventry, England at 6:31 a.m. local time. The nurse, May Parsons, told her to relax her arm.
The second person to be vaccinated at the hospital was 81 year old man whose name is William Shakespeare.