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The BBC has today reported that the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine has been approved for use in the UK, making it the first country in the world to approve its use.
The MHRA, who regulate medicines and medical equipment in the UK, has identified that the vaccine is safe to be rolled out, with 800,000 doses due to be available from week commencing 7th December, according to Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
He added that the initial doses will be prioritised for care home residents and staff, followed by over-80s and other health and care staff. The vaccinations are likely to take place in hospital settings, due to the need for the vaccine to be stored at -70C.
40 million doses have been ordered by the UK government – enough to vaccinate 20 million people, as two injections are required to achieve the full effect of the jab.
The vaccine is likely to be rolled out over the coming months into the new year, due to production limits at the Pfizer facility in Belgium, which will supply the UK vaccine. For employers, this likely means that sections of the working population will be vaccinated in waves, rather than all at once, meaning COVID safety measure will still need to be in place for the foreseeable future. The vaccine is also not compulsory, meaning that some individuals may choose not to get the vaccine.
Keeping workplaces COVID-safe in the coming months will be crucial as we all work towards getting back to ‘normal’. Distancing, PPE, sanitising and even testing will still be prevalent in many settings across the UK.