Queen and rest of Royal Family WON'T be able to jump the queue for Covid vaccine


The Queen and the rest of the Royal Family will not be able to jump the queue for a Covid-19 vaccine and even Boris Johnson will have to wait his turn, it was revealed today.

No one will be given ‘special treatment’ when the country launches its mass-immunisation drive next month, according to a senior Government source who has assured the pubic the jabs will only be obtainable through the NHSEven rich companies won’t be able to skip the line.

Guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), published in September, said care home residents and their carers will be at the top of the pecking order. Those over 80 will be next in the queue, including the Queen at 94-years-old, followed by those over 75, over-70s, over-65s and high-risk adults under 65. 

According to the priority list, Prince Charles, 71, would be among the fourth group to get access, with the Prime Minister, at 56, placed ninth in the over-55s and Prince William, 38, in the last group, 11th in line for the jab. 

The Prince of Wales, Mr Johnson and the Duke of Cambridge have all had the virus, but scientists are still unsure on the truth on immunity due to Covid-19 having only been around since January – meaning its long-term effects are still unclear.

There have also been fears wealthy corporations would try to snap up vaccines directly from the manufacturer to get their staff back to work and make up for the money haemorrhaged during lockdown.  This raised concerns that it could limit the number of vaccines available to the British public. However, the Department of Health has assured people this will not happen. 

Plans for the mass-vaccination programme were jolted into motion on Monday when American drugs giant Pfizer – the company which makes Viagra – released early data showing its vaccine can prevent nine in 10 people from catching Covid-19.

It comes as family doctors are set to start the mammoth operation of vaccinating millions against Covid-19 within weeks. NHS England has told GPs to be ready to deliver the jabs between 8am and 8pm ‘seven days a week’ once a vaccine is approved.

Staff at more than 1,200 GP surgeries are being asked to administer the jabs inside care homes and at designated sites across the country. Mass vaccination centres are being set up at sports halls, sports grounds and shopping centres with the Army put on standby in ‘the biggest logistical effort since the Second World War’.

The Queen and the rest of the Royal Family will not be able to jump the queue for a Covid-19 vaccine. At the age of 94, the Monarch will be in the second priority group of over-80s

The Queen and the rest of the Royal Family will not be able to jump the queue for a Covid-19 vaccine. At the age of 94, the Monarch will be in the second priority group of over-80s

Prince Charles, pictured wearing a mask as he arrives at the Ulster Museum in Belfast, who is aged 71, comes in the fourth group of over 70s (file photo)

Prince William, pictured meeting patients and staff during a visit to attend a ceremony for the Oak Cancer Centre at the Royal Marsden hospital in October, comes 11th in line for the jab

Prince Charles, pictured wearing a mask as he arrives at the Ulster Museum in Belfast, who is aged 71, comes in the fourth group of over 70s (file photo). Prince William, pictured meeting patients and staff during a visit to attend a ceremony for the Oak Cancer Centre at the Royal Marsden hospital in October, is in the last bracket of people to receive the jab

BRITAIN SAYS YES TO THE VACCINE

Three in four Britons would take the Covid vaccine, including nearly nine in ten elderly, according to a Daily Mail poll.

Only 7 per cent said they would not have it under any circumstances. The poll also showed that Pfizer’s breakthrough jab was the best news of the year for many – and as significant as the fall of the Iron Curtain.

However there was a note of caution, with seven in ten feeling lockdown restrictions should stay in place for now.

Four in ten said the Prime Minister and fellow politicians should take the vaccination first to show it was safe.

The poll came as Matt Hancock unveiled details of the ‘mammoth logistical operation’ required to inoculate huge swathes of the population within weeks.

The Health Secretary said the roll-out would ‘inject hope into millions of arms this winter’.

A priority list of who should get the vaccine first was drawn up earlier this year by the influential Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI)

A priority list of who should get the vaccine first was drawn up earlier this year by the influential Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI)

A senior source told The Telegraph: ‘We would expect everyone to receive any vaccine in the order that is set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). There will be no special treatment for anybody.’

Minutes released in November on the JCVI’s meetings spoke of problems with infection in the top care home setting on the list. 

It stated: ‘It was noted that outbreaks of acute respiratory infections in care home had been a feature of the epidemic from the beginning.

‘Genomic evidence indicated multiple introductions into care homes. More recently care homes had accounted for a smaller proportion of incidents reported to Health Protection Teams (HPTs), with increases seen in educational settings, workplaces and other settings.’ 

The priority groups for vaccination depend on which vaccines are approved and what groups of people they have been tested on.

Officials will only use a vaccine on elderly people, for example, if that jab has worked well for elderly people in a clinical trial. It will not give a group of people a vaccine that has not been tested on people similar to them in trials. 

The general population will be last to get their hands on a vaccine and they will most likely be prioritised based on age or underlying conditions. It is likely to be more than six months before healthy young adults get access.

Experts have said it is worth getting everyone vaccinated against coronavirus with Pfizer’s jab should it be approved, even though early results suggest it doesn’t trigger an immune response in one in ten people, because this will help to protect others and the most vulnerable from the virus. 

They added that in those where the vaccine is unlikely to stop them catching Covid-19 it could still make a severe infection less likely, helping to protect them from being hospitalised and stop the NHS from becoming overwhelmed. 

It follows Sir John Bell, a medicine professor at the University of Oxford, saying on Tuesday he was ’70 to 80 per cent’ sure that life could start to return to normal in Britain after Easter. 

But he warned it was now on ministers to hold up their end of the deal by ensuring any approved vaccine is rolled out smoothly to vulnerable groups who are most at risk of falling victim to Covid-19. 

Speaking to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee about Pfizer’s vaccine news on Tuesday, he said: ‘I think this journey to a vaccine has been a long journey and I think there’s a risk that people will underestimate the importance of the announcement yesterday and that is the big challenge here was to find a vaccine that actually had efficacy against this virus. There are many pathogens for which we have looked for decades and not found a vaccine that works.

‘Now are there some more things we need to do? We’ve got to get regulatory approval, we’ve got to get more material to the manufacturer.

‘It’ll be hard to distribute as it has to be distributed at -80C which will be complicated but it also signals I think that many of the other vaccines that have the same immunogenicity are likely also to be efficacious.  So I wouldn’t be surprised if we hit the new year with two or three vaccines, all of which could be distributed.’

He added: ‘And that’s why I’m quite optimistic of getting enough vaccinations done in the first quarter of next year that by spring things will start to look much more normal than they do now.’

Asked how realistic is it to think the UK could be back to normal by the spring, Sir John told MPs: ‘I think we’ve got a 70 to 80 per cent chance of doing that. That’s provided they don’t screw up the distribution of the vaccine, that’s not my job, but providing they don’t screw that up it will all be fine.’

The preliminary findings were better than researchers anticipated and, if confirmed to be true, would make the vaccine far more effective than jabs for flu, TB and HPV

The preliminary findings were better than researchers anticipated and, if confirmed to be true, would make the vaccine far more effective than jabs for flu, TB and HPV

Pfizer’s vaccine needs to be stored at ultra-low temperatures, which makes trying to ship and distribute the shots a logistical headache.

The vaccine must be kept at -70C (-94F) which rules out storing it at most hospitals or pharmacies, where jabs are normally kept and administered.

Pfizer’s shot will likely need to be stored in laboratories or specialist hospitals. To transport it around the country will also require expensive refrigerated lorries.  

The UK will also only receive 10million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine – the only one so far to have preliminary phase three trial results – by Christmas, which is enough for five million Brits because the shot needs to be administered a second time after 21 days to work properly. It means only a select few groups will get access to the vaccine in 2020 and draconian lockdown rules will need to stay in place well into next year. 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has promised the health service will work around the clock to get the UK vaccinated, with practices open between 8am and 8pm every day of the week and on Bank Holidays. 

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He admitted deploying the vaccine was going to be a ‘colossal challenge’ and revealed the military were on standby to help. 

NHS bosses have told all of England’s 1,250 GP networks to designate a single practice capable of administering at least 975 doses of the vaccine in their area each week — the equivalent of at least 1.22million nationwide. 

Surgeries will need to have fridge space available by December 1, according to documents. Pharmacists and dedicated clinics set up in places such as sports halls are also likely to be used. 

Patients will need to be observed for 15 minutes after the vaccination is administered and appointments can be managed through a national booking system.

In a letter to GPs setting out plans for services to ‘contribute’ to the vaccination programme, NHS chiefs accept that GP surgeries will not be able operate as usual while their doctors are engaged in the immunisation effort.

‘Our shared ambition is for general practice to remain fully open and accessible to all patients,’ wrote Dr Nikki Kanani, NHS England’s medical director for primary care. 

‘We also recognise that the additional workload of a Covid-19 vaccination programme may require practices to prioritise clinical activity.’ 

The Government’s track record in handling logistical issues through the pandemic will not instill confidence that the mass-rollout of the new vaccine will run without any hiccups. For example, the centralised testing programme has been hit by a catalogue of failures since the pandemic began and the contact tracing mobile app was delayed by four months. 

One senior Tory warned that the government faces catastrophic public backlash if it makes a mess of the vaccine rollout. ‘If we get this wrong, we’re toast,’ they told MailOnline. The MP said the Prime Minister should hand the reins to a senior military figure, who should also be the public face of the distribution effort.

They said: ‘If we hadn’t had the military involved someone would still be drawing up outline planning for the Nightingale hospitals. They can set up wards in theatres of war. The military are trusted. They have no axe to grind and they have authority. They are impartial servants of Crown and country.’   

Step by step, the Covid vaccine’s journey of hope: How tons of dry ice keep Pfizer’s breakthrough jab at -75C as millions of doses are produced in Germany and Belgium to be sent across the glob

It is the miracle jab that promises hope of an end to the pandemic and a longed-for return to normality.

Although it is still weeks until the first coronavirus vaccines are put into people’s arms, hundreds of thousands of doses have already rolled off the production line.

These pictures show the astonishing effort made to develop and mass-manufacture a completely new vaccine.

It all starts with the ‘bioreactor’ which generates the artificial genetic code at the heart of the innovative treatment, developed by German firm BioNTech. 

When injected into the body in the vaccine, this code encourages people to safely make their own copies of the ‘spike protein’ on the outside of the virus so their immune system can recognise it and ward it off.

But the design is just the beginning, with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer then taking over to produce millions of individual doses – including the 10million promised to the UK by the end of this year.

This vaccine, which requires two doses and must initially be stored at ultra-cold temperatures, is not the simplest to roll out, compared to more traditional jabs or those that can be kept at room temperature in powder form.

Tons of dry ice will keep the doses at minus 75C and thermal sensors will track the temperature of this most precious cargo as it is sent across the world. 

The vaccine can be kept at refrigerator temperature – but only for five days.

Such was the urgency of the pandemic that Pfizer, in common with other pharmaceutical firms, began making vaccines even before there was any evidence that they would work. 

So hundreds of thousands of doses have already been created since the vaccine began production in the late summer.

The vials filled in Puurs, Belgium, will be rolled out in Europe, with the city of Kalamazoo in Michigan providing the supply for America.

Steve Bates, chief executive of the Bioindustry Association, said: ‘The process of manufacturing a vaccine is complex – with all the stages involved it would make a good documentary.

‘In this country we are lucky to have an established NHS supply chain to distribute vaccines, but this novel ultra-low-temperature vaccine will be new territory.’

1: KEY CODE 

Synthetic genetic code that triggers spike protein of virus – and allows body to fight it off – is produced at BioNTech facility in Mainz, Germany

Synthetic genetic code that triggers spike protein of virus – and allows body to fight it off – is produced at BioNTech facility in Mainz, Germany

2.  ON THE PRODUCTION LINE

The vaccine is collected into bulk vials by lab technicians in sterile scrubs

The vaccine is collected into bulk vials by lab technicians in sterile scrubs

3. PURIFICATION PROCESS 

Production is moved to Pfizer factory in Purrs, Belgium, and liquid is filtered to ensure it’s free of contamination

Production is moved to Pfizer factory in Purrs, Belgium, and liquid is filtered to ensure it’s free of contamination 

4. FILLING STATION 

Technicians gear up for a heavy workload, with Pfizer and BioNTech aiming for a billion doses next year

Technicians gear up for a heavy workload, with Pfizer and BioNTech aiming for a billion doses next year

5. ONE JAB FITS ALL 

The vaccines are ready to be poured into the glass vials that will eventually be used for the injections

The vaccines are ready to be poured into the glass vials that will eventually be used for the injections

6. NOW WE’RE COVERED 

Purple lids are placed on vials at the factory that will supply Europe

Purple lids are placed on vials at the factory that will supply Europe

7. SAFETY FIRST 

Each individual dose of the vaccine has to be inspected and carefully checked

Each individual dose of the vaccine has to be inspected and carefully checked

8. THE BIG CHILL

The big chill: It must be kept in ultra-cold storage at around minus 75C to maintain it in a stable chemical state

The big chill: It must be kept in ultra-cold storage at around minus 75C to maintain it in a stable chemical state

9. KEEP IT ON ICE 

Pfizer says its vaccine can only be kept at normal refrigerator temperatures for five days, so they stay frozen for shipping

Pfizer says its vaccine can only be kept at normal refrigerator temperatures for five days, so they stay frozen for shipping 

10. PRECIOUS CARGO

Precious cargo: All ready to be flown and driven across the world

Precious cargo: All ready to be flown and driven across the world

11. BOXING CLEVER 

In temperature controlled crates

In temperature controlled crates

All your questions answered: MailOnline explains what comes next in the vaccination effort  

By Sam Blanchard, Senior Health Correspondent for MailOnline and Ben Spencer, Medical Correspondent for the Daily Mail  

PFIZER’S VACCINE: WHAT WE STILL NEED TO KNOW

By Luke Andrews for MailOnline

The announcement that Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine could be up to 90 per cent effective has sparked claims society could go back to normal by spring next year.

But with most data from the trials still unpublished, several scientists have sounded a note of caution over whether the vaccine will work.

Does the vaccine actually prevent infection? 

Preliminary results from the trial say that out of the 94 people that have tested positive for the virus no more than eight received the vaccine.

But scant information has been released on how these infections were identified. 

If tests were only carried out after someone developed symptoms, it may be that asymptomatic infections were missed – meaning the vaccine does not prevent infection.

On the other hand, if all the trials 43,500 volunteers were tested repeatedly this would reveal the vaccine conferred immunity against the virus.

Additionally, it is unclear what sort of infections the eight that tested positive suffered – and, hence, whether the vaccine curtailed some of the worst impacts. 

Professor Eleanor Riley, an immunologist at the University of Edinburgh, said that without further information it remained unclear whether the vaccine reduced symptoms or stopped infection. 

How long will immunity last?

This remains tantalisingly unclear, and can only be revealed by continuing to monitor those that have received the jab.

Pfizer launched its trial in July and has so far not recorded any candidates in which immunity relapsed in the first few months, according to reports.

Several vaccines require top-up shots every couple of years, due to waning immunity. The jab against diptheria, polio and tetanus, for example, needs to be given every ten years to ensure immunity.

Will the vaccine help the elderly?

The early release from Pfizer still has not revealed whether the vaccine will help the elderly.

Details on the ages of the 43,500 candidates in the early trial are not known, and neither are the ages of those who tested positive for the virus.

If the virus was only trialled in a middle or young age group however, this could mean that further tests will be required before it can be administered to older members of society.

Professor Tracy Hussell, an immunologist from the University of Manchester, previously warned that as people get older their immune systems become less responsive – meaning a vaccine may not trigger the required response to provide immunity.

Who are the volunteers that tested positive for the virus?

Pfizer is yet to release information on the characteristics of the 94 people that tested positive for the virus, and the at least eight people that got the infection despite receiving the jab.

This is important because it will reveal whether the jab has managed to protect more vulnerable individuals to the virus, or if they are still susceptible to it.

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It will also reveal whether there is a significant difference between those that caught the virus without receiving the vaccine and those that did. 

WHAT MUST HAPPEN BEFORE A VACCINE CAN BE USED IN THE UK?

For a vaccine to get a licence to be used by the NHS or private clinics it must first complete rigorous clinical trials and be approved by medical regulators.

Once clinical trials have been completed – these must involve the vaccine being given to tens of thousands of volunteers living in areas where Covid-19 is spreading – independent scientists will look at the results to see if they prove that it works and is safe.

They will compare how many people in the vaccine group caught coronavirus and compare this to the infection rate in a group of similar people given a fake vaccine. 

If the infection rate is noticeably lower in the vaccine group, this will suggest that the jab works. Experts will also want to see proof that the jab doesn’t cause major side effects and is tolerated by almost everyone.

In the UK, the body assessing all of this data will be the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA). In Europe it is the European Medicines Agency. 

Approval from either of these organisations in December will be sufficient for medics in the UK to dish out the jab.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the MHRA has been reviewing data in an ongoing process for leading jab candidates and could be set to decide within days of trials finishing.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘The regulator will be able to make a judgment on whether this is clinically safe, and not just take the company’s word for it, but do that within a matter of days from a formal licence application.’

The doses will then be delivered to the clinics and locations that will dish them out, and staff employed for the purpose. 

Professor Sir John Bell, a medicine professor at the University of Oxford, told MPs today that he expects the UK and US to have made decisions about the Pfizer vaccine, which released promising early results yesterday, by mid-December.

Mr Hancock said the NHS and the military is preparing to start giving out the vaccine seven days a week from next month. 

DO WE KNOW WHICH VACCINES WILL BE USED? 

The UK has ordered doses of at least seven different vaccines but two are the current front-runners – those made by Pfizer and Oxford University.

US company Pfizer, working with German firm BioNTech, yesterday revealed that early results suggest its jab is 90 per cent effective.

The pharma companies are expected to publish results of their final trials within the next two weeks and then apply for licences to use the vaccine, with it now expected to start being distributed in the US and the UK as soon as December.

Pfizer’s jab is an mRNA vaccine, which means it injects genetic material that forces the body to create ‘spike’ proteins to mimic the appearance of the coronavirus, triggering the immune system to respond.

Another vaccine being tested by Oxford University scientists along with the British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is expected to publish early results next week.

This has been one of the biggest hopes of the UK’s investment in vaccines so far, with early trials suggesting it stimulates the immune system in the right way.

Oxford’s jab works by injecting damaged spike proteins from the real coronavirus on the back of another, harmless virus. 

WHO WILL BE GIVEN A JAB FIRST?

The priority groups for vaccination depend on which vaccines are approved and what groups of people they have been tested on.

Officials will only use a vaccine on elderly people, for example, if that jab has worked well for elderly people in a clinical trial. It will not give a group of people a vaccine that has not been tested on people similar to them in trials. 

However, the UK Government has laid out a set of priorities for who will get a vaccine first if one is found that is safe for anyone to have.

Hopes that a coronavirus vaccine will be ready before the end of 2020 were ignited yesterday when pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech announced their clinical trial seems to be proving that their vaccine works, and may even be 90 per cent effective (Pictured: A trial volunteer receives the jab)

Hopes that a coronavirus vaccine will be ready before the end of 2020 were ignited yesterday when pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech announced their clinical trial seems to be proving that their vaccine works, and may even be 90 per cent effective (Pictured: A trial volunteer receives the jab)

WHAT’S THE LATEST ON THE OXFORD JAB? 

The AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine has been a frontrunner in the race to find a coronavirus jab and is expected to report its first results within weeks.

Full safety and efficacy data could be published next week, MailOnline understands.

It means the actual approval process for the jab could begin weeks ahead of Pfizer — offering Britain a second shot of getting a jab before Christmas.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will spend days rigorously poring over the data to make sure the vaccine is safe before allowing it to be dished out en masse.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said today the MHRA could approve a jab within days of a licence application being submitted.

But Sir John Bell, part of the team at Oxford working on the vaccine, said the results were due within weeks, suggesting it may not be on track for next week — despite Government sources believing the results are imminent. 

Mr Hancock said Oxford’s vaccine was easier to deploy than Pfizer’s, which needs to be kept at a temperature of -70C. 

DOES THE OXFORD VACCINE WORK?

AstraZeneca and Pfizer’s vaccines have been shown to provoke both an antibody and T-cell response.

Antibodies are proteins that bind to the body’s foreign invaders and tell the immune system it needs to take action. T-cells are a type of white blood cell which hunt down infected cells in the body and destroy them. 

A study on the AstraZeneca vaccine found that levels of T-cells peaked 14 days after vaccination and antibody levels peaked after 28 days.

CAN THE OXFORD JAB BE MANUFACTURED TO SCALE?

The UK Government has secured 100 million doses of the Oxford University and AstraZeneca vaccine as part of its contract, enough for most of the population.

The head of the UK Vaccine Taskforce, Kate Bingham, has said she is confident it can be produced at scale.

COULD IT HELP THE ELDERLY?

There have been concerns that a Covid-19 vaccine will not work well on elderly people, much like the annual flu jab.

However, data from the Oxford University and AstraZeneca vaccine trial suggests there have been ‘similar’ immune responses among younger and older adults.

In a statement, Oxford University said its data marked a ‘key milestone’, with the vaccine inducing strong immune responses in all adult groups.

Care home residents and their carers will be at the top of the pecking order because the residents are the country’s most at risk of dying if they catch Covid-19.

Guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), published in September, said people over the age of 80 would come next.

Those over 75 will be next in the queue, followed by over-70s, over-65s and high-risk adults under 65 with diseases like cancer.

They will be followed by moderate risk adults under 65 – including diabetics and asthmatics.

Over-60s will be next, with over-55s and over-50s the final priority groups.

The general population will be last to get their hands on a vaccine and they will most likely be prioritised based on age or underlying conditions. It is likely to be more than six months before healthy young adults get access.  

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO VACCINATE PEOPLE?  

Vulnerable people such as care home residents and the very elderly could start getting vaccinated before the end of 2020, officials say.

They are top of the priority list and Kate Bingham, chair of the UK’s vaccine taskforce, said the country could have its hands on 14million doses of vaccines made by Pfizer and Oxford in December, if the studies end well.

Both will be double-dose jabs meaning that, at the very most, seven million people could have had one dose of a vaccine before the end of the year. 

Sir John Bell said today he was sure a semblance of normality would be back in Britain by Easter if the vaccine can be rolled out effectively to vulnerable people. 

‘I think we’ve got a 70, 80 per cent chance of doing that [returning to normality],’ he said in a meeting of MPs today.

‘That’s provided they don’t screw up the distribution of the vaccine, that’s not my job. But provided they don’t screw that up, it’ll all be fine.’

NHS England documents show that hundreds of dedicated clinics are being set up to deliver a minimum of 975 doses of vaccine each every week.

There could be as many as 1,250 of these set up, suggesting that the country would have capacity to deliver 1.2million doses per week in a seven-day operation across England. 

The practices will need to have cold storage space available by December 1 and ‘capacity to administer minimum of 975 doses per week or greater’.

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Practices will receive a £12.58 payment for each dose of a coronavirus vaccine, meaning they will receive £25.16 for each patient vaccinated in a two-dose course, the documents show. 

Appointments will be managed through a national booking system. 

Laws have been loosened in the UK to allow health professionals other than doctors and nurses to train to administer vaccines, which will help the NHS to boost numbers.

HOW WILL I KNOW WHEN I CAN GET IT?  

Invitations will be sent via letter and text message as each wave of people becomes eligible for vaccination – this will come from the central NHS or GP practices. 

Individuals will then be able to book an appointment either through a GP or a national booking service.

PFIZER’S COVID-19 VACCINE TIMELINE AT A GLANCE

March 17: Pfizer and Germany firm BioNTech announce they are co-developing a Covid-19 vaccine.

The companies team up after previous collaborations on flu jabs.

July 13: Their vaccine is granted fast-track status by the FDA.

It gives regulators in the US the ability to review data from studies into the jab in real time, so it can be approved and rolled out quicker.

July 20: Phase one trial on 12 adults show the vaccine stimulates antibody response.

July 27: Phase two trial is launched in a much larger group of people and compared to a placebo to see if the jab is safe.

August 12: Results from the study of 45 adults find the jab is well tolerated with few side effects and stimulates the immune response thought to be needed to fend off Covid-19 infection.

Mid-August: Phase three trials are launched in the US. These trials see researchers administer the jab then wait to see if people get infected naturally in the community.

September 12: Phase three trials are expanded to include 44,000 people at more than 120 clinical sites across the US, Brazil, South Africa and Argentina.

October 6: The European Medicines Agency agrees to initiate a rolling review, which the FDA had done months earlier.

October 30: The UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) also undertakes rolling review. It opens the door for the US, UK and Europe to get doses by the end of 2020.

November 9: Early results from phase three suggest nine out of 10 people who get their jab are protected by it.  

Sometime in late November: Full results from the phase three trials are expected. 

This will paint a clearer picture about how effective the jab will be and will kick-start the approval process.

December 25: Kate Bingham, head of the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce, has said Britain could have 10million doses of Pfizer’s jab ready to be rolled out by Christmas. 

WHO WILL ACTUALLY GIVE ME THE JAB?

GPs and practice nurses will lead the vaccination effort, supported by pharmacists, care home staff, volunteers and the armed forces.

Retired NHS staff have been encouraged to return to work to help but everyone must to be properly trained. 

Each local primary care network will have one designated GP surgery that will coordinate vaccination for the area.

WHERE WILL I GO FOR IT?

Anywhere that has space and access to large fridges is an option. Sports halls, drive-through centres, pop-up facilities, football grounds, shopping centres, community facilities and libraries are all on the cards, as well as GP practices themselves. 

They will be open 8am to 8pm seven days a week, including on bank holidays if needed. Health officials are also considering setting up mobile teams to visit frail people in their own homes. 

DOES IT TAKE LONG FOR A VACCINE TO WORK?

Vaccines do not make people immune to disease immediately and it may take a month or more for individuals to develop resistance to the virus.

In the trial of Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine, people received two doses of the jab given 21 days apart.

The vaccine will not work properly with a single dose, so people can’t be considered protected during the first three weeks after they have that.

And then, for the trial purposes, scientists started counting Covid-19 cases only from seven days after the second dose.

This suggests they do not expect the jab to be effective within the first 28 days of starting the vaccination process, or within seven days of the second dose – whichever comes last.

People must continue, therefore, to maintain social distancing and follow any lockdown rules for at least a month after getting vaccinated.  

For a vaccine to work on a large scale it will require huge numbers of people to get vaccinated, but it is likely that a working one would allow rules to be relaxed gradually.

If officials successfully vaccinate all elderly people and those with conditions that make them likely to die if they catch Covid-19, for example, social distancing rules may be able to be relaxed before a herd immunity threshold is reached. 

Herd immunity – in which so many people are vaccinated that the virus can’t spread any more – could require up to 80 per cent of the population to have the jab. This will take many months to achieve but normal life may return earlier.

HOW HARD IS IT TO TRANSPORT, STORE AND DELIVER A VACCINE? 

Experts have raised concerns that storing the vaccine in Britain might be difficult.

Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine has to be stored at temperatures below -70°C (-90°F) to make sure that it remains stable and can still work when injected.

If it rises to temperatures higher than this at any point between the lab and wherever they are administered from they could become chemically unstable and fail to work properly.

To combat the issue, the American drug maker has designed a special suitcase-sized box to help deliver the vaccines.

But according to leaked Pfizer documents, the suitcases containing the doses can only be opened for a minute at time and not more than twice a day, the Times reports, making it difficult to supply the doses to patients.

Dr Michael Head, global health expert at the University of Southampton, said: ‘It has been reported that the vaccine requires storage at -70 degrees centigrade, and that is not necessarily routinely available in most health centres even in the UK, let alone globally.’

And Dr Al Edwards, a professor of biomedical technology at the University of Reading, added: ‘The task of producing substantial amounts of a new vaccine and disturbing widely will be a challenge, not least for this particular formulation where ensuring that it can be appropriately frozen until needed and must not be allowed to thaw in transit.’

VOLUNTEERS SAY PFIZER’S VACCINE LEFT THEM WITH HEADACHES, FEVER AND FEELING LIKE THEY HAD A ‘SEVERE HANGOVER’

Carrie, 45, from the US, said the jab left her with headaches, fever and muscle aches similar to the flu vaccine

Carrie, 45, from the US, said the jab left her with headaches, fever and muscle aches similar to the flu vaccine

Volunteers on the Pfizer vaccine trial have compared the jab’s side effects to a ‘severe hangover’ and said it left them with headaches, fever and muscle aches similar to the flu vaccine.

Carrie, 45, who did not give her last name, said she suffered side effects similar to those brought on by the flu vaccine after the first jab, but that the second left her with ‘more severe’ symptoms.

The publicist, from the US, said she signed up for the jab because she felt it was her ‘civic duty’ and that the announcement the vaccine could be 90 per cent effective left her feeling ‘very proud’.

Glenn Deshields, 44, also from the US, said that when he received his shots of the vaccine he was left feeling as though he had a ‘severe hangover’.

But, despite the symptoms, he said his body’s reaction left him feeling confident that the vaccine could work. To check whether it had triggered an immune response, he signed up to get an antibody test for himself. The results came back positive.

Mr Geshields said he was proud to have taken part

Glenn Deshields, 44, said the vaccine made him feel like he had a ‘severe hangover’ but he was happy to have taken part

Describing his motivation, the lobbyist said: ‘My grandfather, one of his first memories was of the bells ringing when World War I ended. It was a horrific war and horrible things happened and people were just happy it was over with.

‘In my mind I felt the same way… I kind of felt it was something like that. Thank god, it’s going to be over at some point.’

A third volunteer Bryan, 42, who also didn’t give his last name, said he thinks he got a placebo rather than the vaccine.

He felt no immune reaction after receiving either of the two shots, and then contracted Covid-19 after his daughter caught the disease. Both have since recovered.

Talking about taking part in the trials, he said he felt a ‘little bit of pride’ on hearing the results but added that taking part in the study was ‘the least I could do to help out’ as ‘a lot of people are needlessly suffering from the virus’ in America.

Volunteers have said taking the vaccine left them with what felt like a 'severe hangover'. Pfizer's vaccine has proved 90 per cent effective in early trials. Pictured above is Bryan, 42, who received a placebo

Volunteers have said taking the vaccine left them with what felt like a ‘severe hangover’. Pfizer’s vaccine has proved 90 per cent effective in early trials. Pictured above is Bryan, 42, who received a placebo



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