The United Kingdom has approved the corona vaccine from the American pharmaceutical company Pfizer and the German BioNTech. This makes it the first country in the world to use this vaccine.
“We will start vaccinating from the beginning of next week,” Health Minister Matt Hancock told Sky News. “This is fantastic news.” He says 50 hospitals are ready to receive the drug. Large vaccination centers are also being set up. Hancock recognizes that the use of the vaccine comes with logistical challenges. For example, the agent must be stored between -70 and -80 degrees.
“The British are no longer in the EU and could approve it on their own,” says correspondent Tim de Wit in the NOS Radio 1 News. “So they did not have to wait for the European medicines agency EMA, as the EU member states have to.”
Forty million doses ordered
According to De Wit, the British have ordered 40 million doses. The first 10 million will come from Belgium and will be received next week. “That means that you can vaccinate from Monday or Tuesday.”
“They will be the first to start vaccinating people in nursing homes. There was still debate whether hospital workers would be the first to get their turn,” says the correspondent. “But they are now in second place. After that people over 80 are vaccinated.”
Two injections are required for a vaccination. That means that initially five million people can be vaccinated. But according to De Wit, the question is whether the British can vaccinate so many people in such a short time. “That’s the big challenge.”
The Netherlands also ordered from Pfizer
Last month, Pfizer reported that the vaccine is effective in 95 percent of cases. The vaccine is one of six reserved by the European Union. Yesterday it was announced that the European medicine agency EMA has started evaluating the vaccine. In the best scenario, according to the EMA, that process will be completed this month.
The Netherlands has also reserved millions of doses. The first million should be delivered this month. This means that about 450,000 people can be vaccinated. If all goes well, the first people in the Netherlands will be vaccinated against the corona virus around January 4, Minister De Jonge said yesterday.
In this video NOS op 3 explains how it is possible that a vaccine now appears to be so much faster – and what it all has to meet: