Coronavirus fightback starts now with first vaccinations after 61,000 deaths

Coronavirus fightback starts now with first vaccinations after 61,000 deaths

 

The UK takes a huge step forward on Tuesday in its fight against coronavirus as the vaccination programme gets under way.

The Pfizer/BioNTech jab has been shown to be 95% effective and works across all age groups, including the elderly.

The NHS will begin its largest ever vaccination programme with the aim of eventually vaccinating millions of people against coronavirus.

We asked people if they would have the jab. The answer was a strong ‘Yes!’

Covid survivor Betty Brown, 92, from Belford, Northumberland, had no doubts, saying: “If it is good enough for the Queen, it is good enough for me.”

Betty was admitted to hospital on November 9 but bounced back to entertain the “fantastic” staff with tales of her saxophone playing.

Hal Shaw, 32, an insurance broker from Tonbridge, Kent, believes “absolutely everyone” should be vaccinated because it is a “civic duty”.

Kitchen assistant Dennis Kayongo, 45, from Sevenoaks, Kent, said: “The only solution is taking the vaccine – it is the only way out of the disease.”

Hannah Wood, 38, a meat industry worker from Sevenoaks, Kent, told the Mirror: “If we can protect ourselves then why wouldn’t you?”

Postal worker Peter Thomas, 56, from Westerham, Kent, told us that vaccination is “the only way we are going to get society moving again”.

New mum Michaela McLean 25, wiped away tears as she spoke of her hope mum Pam, 58, in a care home after a stroke, could cuddle her 14-week-old granddaughter.

Businesswoman, Fay Holmes, 61, of Rotherham, said she would do it, despite fears it was ready so quickly.

Keeley Longden, 50, from Rotherham, a Jobcentre worker, said: “I will have it despite my feelings about it. It is great for the country.”

Salah Ahmed, 43, who runs Master Hair Cut in Rotherham, said: “This will help the country so much.”

Veteran campaigner Dr Hari Shukla CBE, 87, is one of the first people to receive a coronavirus vaccine.

Dr Hari Shukla CBE, 87, spoke out amid concerns over take-up.

Staff worked through the weekend to get supplies to 50 hospital hubs around the country, and GPs have been put on standby to start delivering the vaccine from next week.

Dr Shukla, a prominent race relations campaigner from Newcastle, will be vaccinated alongside his wife Ranjan, 83, at the city’s Royal Infirmary on Tuesday morning.

The grandad said: “I am delighted to be doing my bit by having the vaccine, I feel it is my duty to do so and do whatever I can to help.”

The over-80s and care home workers will get the first 800,000 doses, a week after the UK became the first country to approve the Pfizer jab.

It cannot come soon enough as hospital bosses warned the NHS in England risks being overwhelmed in a third wave of infections after Christmas.

The UK has secured 40 million doses of the Pfizer jab with around four million expected to be available this month.

Those receiving a jab will be given an handwritten card with the vaccine name, date of immunisation and batch number.

The cards will also act as a reminder for the second dose 21 days after the first.

The first jab offers some level of protection around 12 days afterwards but the best protection comes a week after the second dose, officials have said.

The Royal College of Nursing said identifying patients likely to turn up for their second dose could be a “key challenge” in ensuring precious vaccine stocks are not wasted.

The Pfizer jab was found 90% effective and reduced all cases of serious symptoms in clinical trials, with no significant side effects.

Doses must be stored at -70C to keep them chemically stable and can only be moved four times before being used.

It means most early vaccinations will take place in hospital hubs while experts work on deploying doses of the jab to other settings.

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