Since the official announcement of a the Oxford-Astra Zeneca Covid-19 vaccine, the entire nation has waited for updates on results of further clinical trials that could offer further credibility on the efficacy and safety levels of this newly invented vaccine.
During the first week of December, major news regarding a massive vaccination rollout led by the NHS across the UK was released, which suggested a groundbreaking step towards the arduous defeat of Covid-19. The widespread distribution of the vaccine is acknowledged to be the biggest immunisation campaign in the history of the UK, with the participation of over 50 hospital hubs across the nation. Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, expressed his excitement and gratitude towards this historic moment:
“Today marks a huge step forward in the UK’s fight against coronavirus, as we begin delivering the vaccine to the first patients across the whole country.”
After the elderly, people with underlying health conditions as well as frontline healthcare staff will in turn be granted approval. The process of vaccination has swiftly begun at the present course and is heading towards preparation for the next pool of eligible people in the UK. It aims to have the most vulnerable as well as crucial figures of the healthcare system protected from the virus before Christmas.
The student pool will likely be able to receive vaccination around the end of January next year, as the NHS will automatically release notices regarding details of vaccination. The Department of Health and Social Care has recently given confirmation that free vaccination will also be available for international students. In a statement, it was said: “they [international students] will be able to access these vaccinations, just as they are able to access healthcare”. In an open letter to the international student community in the UK, universities minister Michelle Donelan upheld her stance on the support of international students:
“Whether you are currently at your chosen university, are studying remotely from your home country, or plan to study here in the future, I am writing to you directly to provide you with support and guidance at this challenging time.”
The mass rollout of Covid-19 vaccinations marks a milestone in the fight against the deadly virus. It now seems possible to envision an eventual return to normalcy for societies worldwide. Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock expressed his thoughts for this celebratory event:
“We will look back on today, V-day, as a key moment in our fight back against this terrible disease, and I am proud our health services across the United Kingdom are about to embark on our largest ever vaccination programme.”
While the vaccine is exciting, it is still important to acknowledge the threat the disease still poses. Until effective immunisation is widespread, governments advise that we stay vigilant and follow local restrictions.