The United Kingdom’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jonathan Van-Tam has said that the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccine roll out plan will eliminate 99 percent of coronavirus-related deaths.
In November, various private and public pharmaceutical collaborations announced the successful development of highly effective COVID-19 vaccines, most prominently the one developed by Pfizer. However, the conversation has now shifted towards the distribution strategy for the vaccines that are set to be released to the public before the end of the year.
One of the most interesting stories comes out of the United Kingdom, where healthcare is universally funded through the celebrated NHI scheme. Many nations may look to Britain, , who will be one of the first countries to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech jab, as a benchmark for their own distribution strategy, given the success of their healthcare system. The Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines are still being assessed by UK regulators.
In the UK, much like other parts of the world, the vaccine will be distributed in phases, prioritising frontline workers, the elderly and, people with underlying health conditions. In a Downing Street press conference, Van-Tam said that phase one will see all those over the age of 50, and people who are clinically vulnerable, get the vaccine.
“The JCVI priority list phase one, which takes us down to people 50 years of age and over and under 50 if you’re in an at-risk group, taken together it’s not an accident that they take out – with a very effective vaccine and high uptake – 99 per cent of COVID-related mortality, deaths,” he said, according to The Sun.
With experts dubbing this a “historic moment”, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that it will “help us to reclaim our lives”.
“Even since the pandemic hit our shores almost a year ago we have known a vaccine would be critical to set us free,” Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, told MPs.
“It’s no longer a case of if there’s going to be a vaccine, it’s when.
“In our battle against the virus, help is on its way.
“Today is a triumph for all those who believe in science, a triumph for ingenuity, a triumph for humanity.”
The first phase of the COVID-19 vaccine and the results it yields for the UK’s advanced healthcare system will indicate how effective a rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine will be around the world and what unforeseen challenges will arise.
The UK has been one of the hardest hit countries in the world in the coronavirus pandemic, with over 1.6 million cases recorded and over 59,000 deaths.