The UK has become the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. A spokesperson from the Department of Health and Social Care said on Tuesday that “the government has today accepted the recommendation from the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approve Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for use”.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which offers up to 95% protection against the virus for all age groups, has been confirmed as safe to be rolled out. The process is on course to begin next Tuesday. A total of 40 million doses have been ordered, which is enough to immunise approximately one-third of the population.
The government have stated that the first phase aims for the direct prevention of mortality, whilst supporting the NHS. In this stage, priority is mainly based on age, with vaccines first being given to residents in care homes for older adults and their carers; individuals over the age of 80 and frontline health and social care workers; and those over the age of 75.
- residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
- all those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
- all those 75 years of age and over
- all those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
- all those 65 years of age and over
- all individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
- all those 60 years of age and over
- all those 55 years of age and over
- all those 50 years of age and over
The vaccine appears to be the light at the end of the tunnel for some students at the College. “I’m really excited about the prospect of vaccine,” says Emily Taylor-Davies, a first-year English and French student. “If we can have some semblance of a ‘proper’ uni experience, even if not completely until second year, does make it feel as if moving across the country was worth it!”
Opinions diverged slightly when asked about the priority list, however. First-year history student Isaac Lukey questioned whether students should be given higher priority. “I guess they should be higher up because they go home to see their parents,” he commented. “I would like to be able to go home and come back again without potentially infecting my family.”
Emily believes that young people shouldn’t be prioritised unless they have a specific health condition which makes them more susceptible. “Even though we have the highest number of positive cases, there are fewer hospital admissions and deaths for people our age,” she explains.
“Obviously socialising is a huge factor for young people – especially in uni. I think it’s a case of managing risk. You can definitely still socialise and enjoy yourself, whilst being responsible.”