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Rollout of Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine begins across the UK

The Covid-19 mass vaccination programme in the UK has commenced today. V-day is the name that has been given to the beginning of the vaccination process. 

Rollout of Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine begins across the UK
Zara Tunnicliffe
· 3 min read

The Covid-19 mass vaccination programme in the UK has commenced today. V-day is the name that has been given to the beginning of the vaccination process. 

The regulatory process for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was completed last week. With approval for the vaccine being granted, the UK became the first country in the world to officially deem the vaccine safe for public use. 

The jabs will be administered to the most vulnerable first, namely those over 80, care home staff, and those administering the vaccine.

Speaking to the BBC, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, "Today marks a huge step forward in the UK's fight against coronavirus."

The first woman to receive the Covid-19 vaccine was 90-year-old woman, Margaret Keenan. With her 91st birthday coming up next week, she said it was "best early birthday present". She was administered the vaccine by May Parsons, who is a matron at the hospital of the University of Coventry. 

Also among the first to have received the vaccine will be 87 year old Dr Hari Shukla and his wife. He told the BBC he was "delighted to be doing my bit" and continued to say, "I feel it is my duty to do so and do whatever I can to help."

Dr Sukla and his wife will be receiving their vaccines today at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle. 

There have been some complications in the rollout process, due to the jab having to be stored at -70°C. The demanding storage conditions mean residents in care homes will not be able to receive a jab in the initial batch, despite the government placing them among those of the highest priority to receive the vaccine. 

The government still expects 4 million jabs to be administered to the public by the end of the month. 

The vaccination is administered in two doses given 21 days apart, with the second jab acting as a boosting agent. 

The length of time for which the vaccine offers protection is still unknown. The deputy chair of the government's vaccine task force, Clive Dix, told the BBC, "We may have to vaccinate every year like we do for the flu."

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that this is "the light at the end of the tunnel". He added, "We will look back on today, V-day, as a key moment in our fightback against this terrible disease."

The PM urged, "As the programme ramps up in the weeks and months ahead, it is as important as ever to keep to the Covid Winter Plan - following the rules in your area and remember the basics of hands, face and space."

Zara Tunnicliffe
Zara Tunnicliffe
Writing has allowed Zara to learn about topics and explore further those that interest her. Zara creates a range promotional copy for events as well as content for a variety of websites and social media platforms. Zara always look forward to researching interesting topics and sharing them with others through her writing.