UK to begin administering vaccines next Tuesday
The United Kingdom is moving swiftly in its efforts to see a COVID-19 vaccine administered to the country's populace.
According to National Public Radio, the U.K. plans to administer its first doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech developed vaccine Tuesday, Dec. 8 government and health officials say.
"We're looking forward to the race starting on Tuesday," Chris Hopson, CEO of the U.K.'s NHS Providers, said Friday in an interview with the BBC. His organization represents hospitals and medical service groups.
Hopson took to Twitter to announce that the U.K. already has an initial supply of 800,000 vaccine doses.
He went on to say this makes it "one of the first countries in the world to be able to start mass COVID-19 vaccination."
Politicians in Scotland and Wales also approved Dec. 8 as a start date for COVID-19 vaccinations.
The vaccine is administered in two doses, after a first dose, a patient must receive a second three weeks later. Pfizer and BioNTech say the vaccine is 95% effective against the coronavirus.
"We've thoroughly tested our plans in Wales and expect to start vaccinating frontline staff and others from Tuesday," First Minister Mark Drakeford said in a briefing Friday. "We hope this marks a turning point and will put us on a long path back to normality."
On the other side of the pond, US officials are utilizing Operation Warp Speed as a means to get vaccines to hospital workers and nursing home patients first and eventually, to the masses.
But the process isn't happening at the same rate of speed seen in the UK's quick approval of emergency use/securing of vaccinations for citizens.
In fact, according to The Associated Press, one US official appeared to criticize the UK for moving so quickly in administering the vaccine to the public.
America’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told U.S. media outlets that U.K. regulators hadn’t acted “as carefully” as the Food and Drug Administration.
But he later apologized for insinuating U.K. authorities had rushed their authorization of the vaccine, saying, “I do have great faith in both the scientific community and the regulatory community at the U.K., and anyone who knows me and my relationship with that over literally decades, you know that’s the case.”
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