A coronavirus vaccine could be available by the end of the year after a breakthrough was announced, but who will be given the treatment first in the UK?
US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech announced on Monday that their COVID-19 vaccine had been more than 90% effective in a trial of over 43,000 people.
Health secretary Matt Hancock has now asked the NHS to be ready to administer the vaccine from the start of December.
Professor Wei Shen Lim, chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), reiterated on Wednesday the priority groups that will receive the jabs first.
Watch: How COVID vaccine would be delivered to millions across the UK
Care home residents and staff are among those who should be given the jab immediately, the committee said, while the prioritisation for other people is linked to their age and risk.
The JCVI examined data on who suffers the worst outcomes from coronavirus and who is at highest risk of death.
Its interim guidance says the order of priority should be:
– Older adults in a care home and care home workers
– All those aged 80 and over and health and social care workers, though they may move up the list.
– Anyone 75 years of age and over
– People aged 70 and over
– All those aged 65 and over
– High-risk adults under 65 years of age
– Moderate-risk adults under 65 years of age
– All those aged 60 and over
– All those 55 and over
– All those aged 50 and over
– The rest of the population, with priority yet to be determined
The UK has secured 40m doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, 10m of which should be doses being manufactured and made available by the end of the year – if the vaccine is approved by the regulators.
People will need two doses, meaning not enough shots have yet been secured for the entire UK population.
Hancock confirmed the vaccine would be delivered through care homes, GPs and pharmacists and special vaccination centres.
He said children would not be required to take the vaccine and that it would be voluntary.
The JCVI stressed this list was “not considered definitive”, and that data is still being collected on at-risk groups.
Watch: Jonathan Van-Tam backs NHS to keep pace with vaccine programme
Coronavirus: what happened today