Hopeful news arrived on Monday 9th November 2020. Pharmaceutical giants Pfizer announced that their experimental COVID-19 vaccine is 90% effective at preventing coronavirus. While the vaccine is not yet approved for general use, this is incredibly promising. Pfizer has submitted their vaccine for urgent approval. With this in mind, some people are suggesting that things could even be back to normal by spring! Prime Minister Boris Johnson, on the other hand, warned that there are still many hurdles to overcome before the pandemic is over.
However, the question on most people’s minds is: who would get a COVID-19 vaccine first? And how soon can we expect to see it?
Who will get the COVID-19 Vaccine?
As we all know, age is one of the biggest risk factors when it comes to COVID-19. Therefore, older people are likely to be near the front of the queue for any COVID-19 vaccine. While no official list has been published, there is a provisional ranking of priorities on the government website. Older care home residents are top priority, alongside care home workers. Meanwhile, healthy people under the age of 50 are currently at the bottom of the list. Here is the full ranking of priorities, as of the time of writing:
- Older adults in care homes and care home workers
- Health and social care workers and people aged 80 or over.
- People aged 75 years or over
- People aged 70 years or over
- People aged 65 years or over
- High-risk adults under 65
- Moderate-risk adults under 65
- People aged 60 years and over
- People aged 55 and over
- People aged 50 and over
- The rest of the population
When Will the COVID-19 Vaccine Be Ready?
The Pfizer vaccine is still in the final phase of testing. If it gets approval, the first vaccines in the UK could be administered before Christmas. Depending on that approval, Pfizer says that up to 50 million doses could be available worldwide by the end of the year. They also predict that up to 1.3 billion doses could be ready in 2021.
However, it’s important to note that distributing the COVID-19 vaccine comes with several big challenges. Firstly, the vaccine needs to be stored at extremely low temperatures, around -80°C. Furthermore, we don’t yet know how effective the Pfizer vaccine will be over time, or how well it works for high-risk elderly people.
The Pfizer vaccine is incredibly promising. However, after their controversial handling of lockdown, PPE, and the Test and Trace system, some people are sceptical about the UK government’s ability to roll out mass vaccinations effectively. Nonetheless, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has asked the NHS to get ready to administer the vaccine from December.
How Does the Vaccine Work?
Most vaccinations work by injecting a weak or dead version of a pathogen (a virus or bacteria which causes disease) into the body. The immune system recognises the pathogen and starts producing antibodies and T-cells to destroy it. However, this new COVID-19 vaccine works slightly differently. It injects part of the virus’s genetic code into the body. The vaccine then tells the cels to produce the coronavirus protein. The presence of this protein then triggers the body’s immune response, prompting it to create antibodies and T-cells. Then, if the person encounters coronavirus, the antibodies are ready to attack the virus.
England has just entered a second national lockdown, due to last four weeks. In the meantime, until a COVID-19 vaccine is available, little will change. It’s still vitally important to stay socially distant from people not in your household or bubble. You should wear a face mask or covering in all public spaces and wash your hands frequently with soap and water. As we go into winter, the rise in cases and deaths is sadly expected to continue. We can all do our part to keep each other safe by following the relevant guidelines.
Stay Safe at Home with Lifeline24
Throughout the pandemic, we have all needed to spend lots of time at home, away from our friends and families. For elderly people and their loved ones, this has been particularly worrying. However, a Lifeline Alarm system can be a great source of reassurance and peace of mind. Our life-saving system means you can call for assistance whenever you need it. With 24-hour support from our expert Response Team, you can feel safe in the knowledge that help is always available.
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Lifeline24 Supporting NHS Test and Trace
Here at Lifeline24, we are supporting the NHS COVID-19 app. The free app is a vital part of the NHS Test and Trace service in England, and the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service.
Protect your loved ones. Download the app today.