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COVID-19: UK authorises Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine

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The government authorises Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine The Government hopes to use the vaccine to immunise 20 million people

The Government has authorised its first COVID-19 vaccine on the independent advice of medicines regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The first 800,000 doses will be available in the UK from next week, Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has said. The UK has already ordered 40 million doses of the free jab, which is thought to enough to vaccinate 20 million people.

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‘The vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week. The NHS has decades of experience in delivering large-scale vaccination programmes and will begin putting their extensive preparations into action to provide care and support to all those eligible for vaccination,’ a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said.

‘To aid the success of the vaccination programme it is vital everyone continues to play their part and abide by the necessary restrictions in their area so we can further suppress the virus and allow the NHS to do its work without being overwhelmed.’

Read more: New COVID-19 vaccine shows 95% protection

According to the Department of Health and Social Care, vaccinations will be delivered in hospitals, community and primary care settings, and ‘vaccination centres’ in venues such as conference centres or sports stadiums.

‘The news of the approval of this COVID-19 vaccine will come as a relief to many people in the UK. Nursing staff, who have huge experience in vaccination programmes, will be asked to play a key role in the vaccine roll-out,’ said Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing.

‘They already administer the majority of vaccines in the UK and will be fundamental in its safe and effective delivery, including the training and supervision of support staff. This will be a huge logistical operation and will require the services of those from across health services and beyond to make it work. As the plans for the roll-out are developed, nursing staff will continue to work with colleagues to ensure it can be safely delivered. It is essential these plans include details on maintaining day- to-day heath and care services for all those that need them.’

Read more: COVID-19 Infection rate drops to below R1 for the first time since August

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