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Coronavirus - 2nd December

Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat Wed Dec 02 2020, 11:15

Summary for Wednesday, 2nd December

  • UK becomes first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for widespread use
  • Regulator Dr June Raine says at a government briefing that "no corners have been cut" in approving it
  • A priority list of those who will get the vaccine first is published - with care home residents at the top
  • Health secretary says the NHS 'stands ready' to begin immunisations next week for people in high priority groups
  • 800,000 doses will be available next week, but the "bulk" of the vaccines will be available in the New Year
  • The prime minister will lead a press conference on the development at 5pm
  • Meanwhile, a new three-tier system of restrictions has come into force in England, as a four-week lockdown ends
  • It comes after MPs backed the new rules which came into effect at midnight - despite a sizeable Tory rebellion
  • Under the new tier system, non-essential shops can open everywhere
  • But nearly all of the population are in the two toughest tiers where households cannot mix indoors
  • From today, people who test negative for Covid-19 are allowed to visit relatives in England's care homes
  • Bargain-hunters have overwhelmed the Debenhams website as the collapsed department store chain holds a huge clearance sale
  • The UN calls for seafarers to be classed as essential workers so the thousands stranded can return home or to their ships
  • Globally, there have been nearly 64m cases of coronavirus and more than 1.4m people have died, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University


Good morning and welcome to our live coverage

The UK is waking up to some good news this morning about the coronavirus vaccine.
The Pfizer/BioNTech jab has been given the green light by the UK’s medicines regulator, meaning mass vaccinations can now begin.
Immunisations could start next week for people in high priority groups. The UK has already ordered 40 million doses - enough to vaccinate 20 million people, with two shots each.
Read the full story here.

What's the latest around Europe?


  • Austria’s government will decide today how to allow shops and schools to reopen when lockdown ends next week. All teachers will be tested as part of a national mass testing programme and younger secondary pupils will be allowed back with masks. Hotels, bars and leisure facilities are set to remain closed but ski resorts could be allowed to open before Christmas for locals and day visitors alone.
  • France wants to ban its citizens from going on ski holidays abroad, as neighbouring Switzerland is keeping its resorts open. President Emmanuel Macron wants to avoid “creating an imbalance with ski resorts in France” that are being kept shut.
  • Ski resorts will also stay shut in Italy until January. Italians will have to stay in their local area over Christmas and New Year and a 21:00 curfew will stay in place throughout December. However, restaurants will stay open, including at Christmas.
  • Latvia has extended a state of emergency until 11 January – from tomorrow a 2+2 rule is required for meetings limited to two people two metres apart; shopping centres are shut at weekends and masks must be worn indoors including at schools. Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins says the situation in Latvia is “very serious”.
  • Germany has reported a record 487 deaths in 24 hours although infections have fallen and health officials put the transmission or R-rate at 0.89, so every 100 people with the virus infect 89 others.
  • Turkey has reported a record 190 deaths in 24 hours and has imposed curfews every night from 21:00 to 05:00.
  • The number of people in intensive care in Belgium has fallen below 900 for the first time since 26 October - 198 people were admitted to hospital yesterday.


'Help is on its way' - Hancock

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has welcomed the news, tweeting: “Help is on its way.”
“The MHRA has formally authorised the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for Covid-19,” he said.
"The NHS stands ready to start vaccinating early next week.
“The UK is the first country in the world to have a clinically approved vaccine for supply.”
Business Secretary Alok Sharma also tweeted, saying: "The UK was the first country to sign a deal with Pfizer/BioNTech - now we will be the first to deploy their vaccine
"To everyone involved in this breakthrough: thank you. In years to come, we will remember this moment as the day the UK led humanity's charge against this disease."

When will people start getting vaccinated?

Hugh Pym - BBC News Health Editor
This is the most exciting news since the initial trials were announced in early November.
We understand that hospitals will be the first recipients - because remember this has to be stored at -80C - and that is difficult in a lot of settings. Hospitals are able to do that and have been prepared for it.
So it seems very likely that NHS staff and some patients will start receiving the vaccine from next week.
The vaccine is manufactured and stored in Belgium so it will have to be transported and I’m told that could take a matter of days. It’s not clear how much will be available next week - possibly only a small amount, but developing over the weeks ahead.
We’ll have to wait for more details from the government about exactly when it will start arriving.

Elderly and people in care homes will get jab first

Asked who will get the jab first, Mr Hancock says the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations is in charge of the priority list.
"So it's according to clinical need, the goal is to save as many lives as possible and stop hospitalisations," he tells BBC Breakfast.
"So it will start with the most elderly and with people in care homes and of course their carers to make sure that others don't catch it.
"And then essentially it comes down the age range. NHS staff are also high on that priority list and also the clinically extremely vulnerable who we've supported throughout this crisis, those who are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus.
"The details of that will be set out mid-morning by the JCVI. And the regulators will also be setting out the details of the clinical trials and why they felt able to approve this vaccine."

People will be contacted by NHS when it's their turn

Health Secretary Mr Hancock is asked by BBC Breakfast how many doses will be rolled out by Christmas.
"The timing will be determined by how rapidly they can be manufactured," he says.
"We haven't put a figure on the numbers before Christmas but what we do know is that we can get started next week with that first load and then several millions will be coming throughout December.
"And people will be contacted by the NHS when it's their turn. And I urge you very strongly to come forward because obviously being vaccinated is good for you.
"It's approved as clinically safe by the regulator and it's good for your community as well to get this virus finally under control once and for all."
Kitkat
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Post by Kitkat Wed Dec 02 2020, 11:22

Hancock: People will get vaccinated in three ways

Mr Hancock says there will be three ways of rolling out the Pfizer/BioNTech across the UK:

  • Hospitals: Most hospitals have the facilities to store something at -70, he says
  • Vaccination centres: Big centres, "a bit like the Nightingales project and including some of the Nightingales" will be set up across the country
  • In the community: GPs and pharmacists and others will help to give the jab to people, Mr Hancock says. But because the vaccine needs to be stored at -70C, this is harder, he adds.

Mr Hancock says other vaccines - like the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine which the UK has ordered 100 million doses of - are better suited to the community rollout, as it does not need to be stored at such low temperatures.
Asked about the other vaccines, Mr Hancock says the Oxford University vaccine is also currently being considered for approval by the medicines regulator.
The timing of that is in the hands of the regulator, he says.
And the Moderna vaccine is "still some time off" as it's being manufactured for delivery in April, he says.

'Largest-scale vaccination campaign in our country's history'

In a statement, Sir Simon Stevens, who is chief executive of the NHS in England, said the vaccination programme would be the "largest-scale vaccination campaign in our country's history".
"This is an important next step in our response to the coronavirus pandemic and hospitals will shortly kick off the first phase of the largest-scale vaccination campaign in our country's history" he said.
He added that the NHS has a proven track record of delivering large-scale vaccinations from the winter flu jab to BCG and, once the final hurdles are cleared and the vaccine arrives in England's hospitals, health service staff would begin offering people this "ground-breaking jab" in a programme that would expand to cover the whole country in the coming months.

'Changes everything for our future'

Scotland's interim chief medical officer Gregor Smith said the vaccine approval was "wonderful news".
"First of several vaccines in pipeline and begins to change everything for our future," he said in a tweet.
Everyone in Scotland over the age of 18 is expected to be offered a vaccination, which is 4.4 million people.
Our colleagues in Scotland have been looking at how and when this could happen.

Northern Ireland minister hails 'hugely significant day'

Northern Ireland's health minister Robin Swann has joined the chorus of voices welcoming what he says is a "hugely significant day" in the fight against coronavirus.
"My department has the plans and preparations in place," he said, in a tweet. "There will be difficult days ahead, people must not let their guard down, but there are brighter days ahead," he added.
It is thought Northern Ireland will receive about 1.5 million doses.
You can read more about the rollout plans for Northern Ireland here.
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Post by Kitkat Wed Dec 02 2020, 11:28

Tiers in England as lockdown ends

Away from vaccine developments, the other main story in England today is the end of the national lockdown and the return to a tiered system of restrictions .
The new system , which is tougher than the one in place before the lockdown, came into force today - just hours after being approved by MPs in a Commons vote.
The government said the move would help "safeguard the gains made during the past month", despite 55 Tories voting against the plan.
More than 55 million people are in the strictest two tiers and cannot mix indoors with those in other households.
Non-essential shops and other businesses, including personal care services such as hairdressers and beauty salons, can now reopen for the first time in four weeks.
Pubs and restaurants can also reopen in tier one and two areas, although in tier two alcohol can only be served with a "substantial meal".

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Post by Kitkat Wed Dec 02 2020, 11:31

How will I get the coronavirus vaccine?

When you can get a vaccine will mainly depend on your age - with people in care homes and the over-80s at the front of the queue, potentially being vaccinated this month.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has decided that care home workers and health and social care staff are also a priority, because they could transmit the virus to vulnerable patients.
After these groups, the plan is to offer the vaccine to everyone else based on their age - from the oldest to the youngest by next spring.
You'll be invited to get a vaccine as soon as it's your turn, probably by letter or text.
This could be through your GP surgery, a hospital or care home if you work there, or through vaccination hubs which are being set up around the country.
You can read more more about how the vaccine will be rolled out here .

Care home residents to be prioritised

Prof Wei Shen Lim has been setting out the order of which groups will be prioritised for the first rollout of the vaccine, which is illustrated in the slide below:
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Post by Kitkat Wed Dec 02 2020, 11:37

A recap on the latest global developments

In case you're just joining us, here are some of the biggest stories from around the world:

  • The United Nations has voted unanimously for a resolution calling on all countries to designate seafarers as key workers. Due to travel restrictions, hundreds of thousands of maritime workers have been left stranded aboard ships worldwide, unable to return home
  • France has said it will carry out random checks at borders to help curb infections. It comes amid tensions with Spain and Switzerland, where ski slopes are expected to remain open during the winter
  • Poland has become the 13th country in the world to surpass one million confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University
  • The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said it will shorten the recommended length of quarantine after exposure to someone who is positive with coronavirus. The Anerican public health body said it will soon issue guidelines which reduce the number of days from 14 to between 7 and 10.


Japan and Italy pledge free vaccine programs

A bill to provide free coronavirus jabs for residents of Japan has been passed by the country's parliament, as it grapples with a wave of infections.
Under the new law, local governments will be responsible for administering the vaccines, and citizens will be obliged - in principle - to get themselves immunised.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has vowed to secure enough vaccines for the country's population by the first half of 2021, but it is unclear if all foreign residents will be eligible.
Meanwhile, Italy has said it will launch its own free vaccine programme early next year. Health Minister Roberto Speranza told parliament that the government had options to buy 202 million jabs from various countries.
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Post by Kitkat Wed Dec 02 2020, 11:40

The key points from this morning's No 10 briefing

A little earlier we heard from three prominent people involved in the approval of the Pfizer vaccine at a Downing Street briefing.
They were Dr June Raine, chief executive of British regulator the MHRA, Prof Sir Munir Pirmohamed, chair of the Commission on Human Medicine Expert Working Group and Prof Wei Shen Lim, chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which advises UK health departments.
These are some of the main points from that briefing:

  • The recommendation to approve the vaccine was made following the "most rigorous scientific assessment of every piece of data"
  • The MHRA regulatory body started preparing for the process in June and so were "ready for that last sprint" and stressed "no corners have been cut"
  • Most of the side effects of the vaccine are very mild and last only a day or so
  • People will be immune seven days after the second dose, and will have some protection on day 12 after the first dose
  • The most vulnerable individuals have been prioritised, with care home residents at the top of the list. Read the order of priority here
  • There is no suggestion that the vaccine should be compulsory, including for NHS workers
  • The UK needs as many vaccines as it can get. “This is the start of a programme and not the end of a programme."
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Post by Kitkat Wed Dec 02 2020, 11:56

How will the vaccine be rolled out across the UK?


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Nadhim Zahawi will oversee distribution of the vaccine in England

We have been hearing this morning that the first 800,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine will be available in the UK from next week.
Around 50 hospitals are on stand-by and vaccination centres - in venues such as conference centres or sports stadiums - are being set up now.
Nadhim Zahawi, the newly-appointed minister responsible for overseeing the vaccination rollout in England, said: "Once quality checks have taken place, the vaccine will be delivered right across the UK."
Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who described today's announcement as "the best news in a long time", said the Scottish government was ready to start vaccinations "as soon as supplies arrive".
It is thought that big venues such as the Edinburgh International Conference Centre are being lined up as the type of venue that will be transformed into vaccine distribution "hubs".
The Welsh government has said the rollout of vaccinations would start in Wales "within a matter of days".
It said two specialist sites had been identified as appropriate delivery sites for the vaccine and local health boards would collect the vaccines directly from these sites
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann has said the first vaccinations could begin as soon as next week.
The first vaccinations had been scheduled from 14 December but Mr Swann said this could now "come forward by a few days".

BioNTech: Rollout to UK 'within days'

BioNTech, the company behind the vaccine, is giving a media conference in Germany.
Its chief medical officer Dr Özlem Türeci Biontech said the company has started immediately the process of delivering its vaccine and it expected the roll out in the UK to happen "within the next couple of days".
She added that on Monday, the company formally filed an application with the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
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Post by Kitkat Wed Dec 02 2020, 14:02

Poland surpasses one million cases

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases has risen to over one million, as the country grapples with a second wave of infections.
On Wednesday, Poland's health ministry reported 13,855 new cases and 609 deaths, bringing the national tally to 1.01 million infections and 18,208 fatalities.
The number of daily cases has fallen since a surge in October and November, but Poland has one of the highest proportions of positive tests in the European Union, and one of the lowest testing rates.
This week, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki is expected to present details of the government's vaccination programme.
Poland, together with Hungary, has vowed to maintain its veto of the European Union's budget and pandemic relief fund. Both countries said they were opposed to a clause that ties funding to adherence to the rule of law.

Recap: Latest headlines from around the world

It's lunchtime in the UK, so if you're just joining us here's a quick recap of the main stories today:
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Post by Kitkat Wed Dec 02 2020, 14:05

France imposes border checks to curb skiing holidays

French Prime Minister Jean Castex has said random border checks will stop holidaymakers going to ski in neighbouring Switzerland.
France, along with Germany and Italy, is shutting its ski lifts over Christmas to stop the spread of Covid-19, but Swiss slopes are already open.
The ski season at Christmas and the New Year is a vital part of the economy for many European countries. But Mr Castex said it was his duty to protect fellow citizens.
"The conclusion you need to make is that 'I'm not going to Switzerland'," he told BFMTV, adding that anyone who did go would face quarantine on their return.
Read more here.

Batch testing 'completed this morning' - Hancock

Matt Hancock says the government has spent months preparing for this day.
He says batch testing of the vaccine was completed this morning for the deployment of the first 800,000 vaccines which are for the whole of the UK.

'A day to remember, frankly in a year to forget'

The health secretary says the government’s strategy to suppress the virus until a vaccine can make us safe “is working”.
He finishes his statement by saying: “This is a day to remember, frankly in a year to forget.
"We can see a way out of this but we’re not there yet so let's keep our resolve, keep doing our bit to keep people safe until science can make us free."
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Post by Kitkat Wed Dec 02 2020, 15:11

Did Brexit really speed up the vaccine approval?

Reality Check
Health Secretary Matt Hancock earlier said that Brexit allowed the UK to approve a Covid vaccine more quickly than European countries.
“We do all the same safety checks and the same processes, but we have been able to speed up how they’re done because of Brexit," said Matt Hancock.
Meanwhile the Leader of the Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, tweeted to point out: “We could only approve this vaccine so quickly because we have left the EU”.
But the European Medicines Agency (EMA) says any EU country could have done the same thing.
Under EU rules, a vaccine must be authorised by the EMA but individual countries can use an emergency procedure that allows them to distribute a vaccine for temporary use in their domestic market.
Britain is still subject to those EU rules during the post-Brexit transition period which runs until the end of the year.
The UK’s own medicines regulator, the MHRA, confirmed this in a statement last month.
The MHRA is well-regarded as world leader in the regulation of medicine, and it has certainly chosen to move faster with vaccine approval than the EMA.
But it didn’t have to rely on Brexit to do that.
For example the European Commission confirmed on Monday that Hungary - an EU member - could use a Russian Covid vaccine in its domestic market if it chose to do so.
The EMA says it is using a slightly slower method for licencing than the UK which it considers to be “the most appropriate regulatory mechanism for use in the current pandemic emergency, to grant all EU citizens’ access to a vaccine and to underpin mass vaccination campaigns.”

UK vaccine 'not a benefit of Brexit' - German health minister


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German Health Minister Jens Spahn has said that the UK's swift vaccine approval should not be celebrated as a benefit of Brexit, since the jab was made thanks to the European Union, which Britain has left.
"The fact that this EU product is so good that Britain approved it so quickly shows that in this crisis European and international cooperation are best," he told reporters, according to Reuters news agency.
The minister's comments come shortly after the EU's medicines regulator defended its own, longer approval process, which it said was based on more evidence and required additional checks.
Britain's plan to roll out the new vaccine by Pfizer and BioNTech has been announced after the jab was granted an emergency approval by UK regulators, 10 days after analysis began on data from trials.
Dr June Raine, the head of the UK's medicines regulator, has insisted that "no corners have been cut" in the development of the vaccine.
"The safety of the public will always come first,” she added.
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Post by Kitkat Wed Dec 02 2020, 15:16

Russia orders mass vaccinations 'from next week'


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President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russian authorities to begin mass vaccinations against coronavirus from next week.
“Let’s agree on this - you will not report to me next week, but you will start mass vaccination ... let’s get to work already,” he told Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova, according to a statement.
Mr Putin said Russia will have produced two million doses within the next few days.
Last month Russia said that its domestically-made Sputnik V jab was 92% effective, according to interim results.
While some scientists welcomed the news, others said the data had been rushed out too early.
Today Russia has also delivered its first batch of vaccines to military personnel as part of efforts to immunise the country's armed forces. Last week, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said around 400,000 service members would be vaccinated.
More than 2.3 million cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Russia, but infection rates have slowed in recent days.
On Tuesday Anna Popova, the head of Russia's public health watchdog, said infection levels had stabilised in 58 of Russia's 85 regions.
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Post by Kitkat Wed Dec 02 2020, 15:19

Interpol issues warning over fake coronavirus vaccines


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Interpol has warned that organised criminal networks may try to sell fake vaccines or steal real supplies.
The international police organisation said it had issued alerts to law enforcement across its 194 member countries, warning them to make preparations.
It added that criminal groups are planning to infiltrate and disrupt supply chains, and target members of the public through fake websites and false cures which could pose a "significant" health risk.
“It is essential that law enforcement is as prepared as possible for what will be an onslaught of all types of criminal activity linked to the Covid-19 vaccine,” said Interpol's secretary general Jürgen Stock.
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Post by Kitkat Wed Dec 02 2020, 15:26

Over 100,000 people flying home to Ireland in days leading up to Christmas

It's estimated that over 100,000 people will be flying home to Ireland in the run up to Christmas this year.
The week leading up to December 25, which is traditionally one of the busiest periods of the year for airports around the world, will see over a tenth of a million people touch down at Irish airports to be with their family and friends for the holidays.
Last year, a record 1.2 million people flew in and out of the country over the festive period, and while Covid-19-related restrictions has caused that number to drop significantly, it's thought that because the virus has kept those living abroad apart for their families for almost an entire year, the Christmas period will still be the busiest period of 2020.
Particularly with the news of vaccines on the horizon, and due to the ever-changing nature of the Covid-19 environment, many people have and will continue to wait until the last minute to book flights in and out of the country.
Between 140,000 and 160,000 passengers are expected to travel through Irish airports between December 20 and January 3.
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Post by Kitkat Wed Dec 02 2020, 15:32

Queues as shoppers return to High Street in England


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Primark in Birmingham was among the shops with queues outside early on Wednesday morning

Shoppers have been returning to High Streets in England today, as non-essential retailers reopened for the first time after a four-week national lockdown .
Jordan Roberts, 19, was among a dozen people queuing outside Selfridges in London's Oxford Street before the department store opened its doors - and shoppers were welcomed by store workers dressed as elves on roller skates.
She said she was there to do her Christmas shopping, adding: "It feels more enjoyable being in a store and things run out of stock online."
Another London shopper, Tamara Rass, 44, said she hit the stores early as she expected they would be busy.
"For me, it's a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel and getting back to normality," she said.

Plymouth Argyle ground could be used for vaccinations

Andrew Segal - BBC South West

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Plymouth Argyle said it has entered "preliminary discussions" with Public Health England about parts of its Home Park stadium being used for the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
Bosses said the ground has been "identified as one of very few suitable locations" for the rollout of a vaccination programme in the city.
They said in a statement: "In line with our vision and values, we feel it is appropriate to try and assist the community wherever possible - as we have done with the NHS, who have occupied parts of the Mayflower Grandstand for phlebotomy and maternity services since the pandemic began."
The club said it would provide more information if plans developed.
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Post by Kitkat Wed Dec 02 2020, 15:36

Will care homes get the vaccine?

Nick Triggle - Health Correspondent
There is a clear priority list for who gets the vaccine first – and care home residents and staff are top of it.
But operational complexities mean the reality will be somewhat different.
When the vaccines arrives, it will be sent straight to major hospitals who have the ultra-cold facilities to store it.
From there it can be moved just once – and when it is, it must be kept in batches of 1,000.
That means sending it out to care homes where there may be only a few dozen residents in some places would lead to a huge amount of vaccine being wasted.
Because of that, the NHS, which is in charge of distributing the vaccine, will run clinics from hospitals at first.
This will allow health and care home staff to get immunised first as well as, perhaps, some of the older age groups who come into hospital.
It looks like it will not be until much more of the Pfizer vaccine is available or the Oxford University one, which is easier to distribute, is approved that care home residents will be able to get it.
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Post by Kitkat Wed Dec 02 2020, 15:43

Covid-19 vaccine to be rolled out in Northern Ireland from December 14

Irish Post
Northern Ireland will officially be able to start vaccinating people for coronavirus from December 14.
On Wednesday morning, the British government officially confirmed that they had approved Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine for use, and would be rolling it out as early as next week.
In doing so, they will become the first country in the world to administer the Covid-19 vaccine.
Speaking on RTE's Today With Claire Byrne this morning, Derry-based Dr Nicola Herron confirmed that Northern Ireland's health centres will be given vaccines from December 14.
"The information that we have is that the vaccines that are going to become available, there are 800,000 in the first batch, that will be rolled out pro-rota across the four regions [England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales]," Dr Herron explained.
"We will get our share of those. This vaccine needs to be stored at -70 degrees. Obviously, transporting it out into nursing homes will be difficult.
"The first batch that is coming out is most likely to be distributed within health care settings such as hospitals where they have this facility," she added.
"The very, very first batch which is coming on December 14, will start to be rolled out to the healthcare workers."
Dr Herron added that anyone living south of the border who is registered with a doctor in the North will be able to get the vaccine.
She did however stress that vaccinating the elderly and the vulnerable will be top priority.
"If someone is registered with a GP in the North, they will get the vaccine in the same way as someone who is living in the North," Dr Herron confirmed.
"If you're registered in the North, you can avail of NHS treatments, including vaccines.
"What you won't be able to do is register with a GP in the North if you're not residing here or working here."
Currently, Covid-19 vaccines aren't expected to become available in the Republic of Ireland until the start of the new year.
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Post by Kitkat Wed Dec 02 2020, 15:58

What other vaccines are in the pipeline?


Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine
Trials of the Oxford vaccine show it stops 70% of people developing Covid symptoms and has a strong immune response in older people .
The UK has ordered 100 million doses. Over the weekend, the government asked the regulator to assess the vaccine. Read more here.

Moderna vaccine
It protects 94.5% of people, the US company says. The UK will have five million doses by the spring. Moderna filed for US and European emergency regulatory approval on Tuesday.
Several others are being developed in China and Russia.
You can read much more on this, here.

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Post by Kitkat Wed Dec 02 2020, 19:12

Breaking News

UK reports another 648 deaths

There have been a further 648 daily deaths within 28 days of a positive test, taking the total to 59,699, the UK government has announced.
There have also been another 16,170 cases reported in 24 hours.

The UK picture

We should be hearing from UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the next 30 minutes to update us on the latest coronavirus news, but let’s take a look at the latest from the country first:


When will Americans get the jab?


Coronavirus - 2nd December 39e37510
Pfizer plant in Michigan used for vaccine cold storage

Americans are wondering when they'll get a vaccine now that the Pfizer/BioNTech jab has been approved for use in the UK. Pfizer is a US company - its partner in the vaccine, BioNTech, from Germany.
It'll be down to the US regulator, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to decide at a meeting next week.
Another vaccine, manufactured by Moderna, will be considered by the FDA a week later.
Vice-President Mike Pence said on Monday that Americans could start receiving the vaccine "as soon as the week of December 14".
US vaccine timetable:
8 Dec - White House summit with vaccine firms
10 Dec - FDA could approve Pfizer
14 Dec - rollout of Pfizer vaccine could begin this week
17 Dec - FDA could approve Moderna
The US has recorded a total of 13.6 million cases and some 270,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Read more on US vaccine prospects here
Kitkat
Kitkat

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Post by Kitkat Wed Dec 02 2020, 19:17

Main points from Johnson press conference

The UK prime minister's press conference has just come to an end.
So what did we learn from Boris Johnson, Simon Stevens and Jonathan Van-Tam?

  • The PM welcomed the new vaccine, saying rollout will begin next week
  • He said top of the list is vaccinating the elderly in care homes, but others may go first due to logistical challenges of transporting it
  • Johnson added that we are "no longer resting on the mere hope that we can return to normal next year but the sure and certain knowledge" we will
  • NHS England chief executive Stevens said the bulk of vaccine doses will be given between January and April
  • About 50 hospital hubs around England will start offering the vaccine to the first in line, before it moves to GP surgeries
  • Deputy chief medical officer Van-Tam appealed for "patience" and realism about the rollout
  • He warned the virus may become seasonal and will be with us "forever", but praised the "momentous journey" of scientists inventing the vaccine


Football fans divided over spectator return, poll shows

After 266 long days, the return of fans to English league football is finally here.
But as clubs in certain areas of England open their turnstiles for the first time in almost nine months, a BBC Sport poll suggests fans are divided over whether they should be allowed to return before a Covid-19 vaccine is rolled out.
In a Savanta ComRes poll of 2,100 football fans, 52% said they should be allowed to return to watch matches in person before a vaccine is available, while 45% said they should not.
The poll also shows:

  • About half of football fans who regularly attended matches before the pandemic said they would return to watch their team regularly before a vaccine was available, while 12% said they would never go back without a vaccine
  • 28% said they cared more about their team now than before the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Younger fans (18-34) were more likely to say they cared more for their club since the coronavirus outbreak
  • Fans are split over who should bear the financial responsibility of ensuring clubs' survival
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 10085
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Post by Kitkat Wed Dec 02 2020, 19:20

Did Brexit speed up the vaccine approval process?

Reality Check
There have been claims that Brexit allowed the UK to approve a vaccine more quickly than the EU, but is that correct?
The EU - through the European Medicines Agency (EMA) - has yet to approve a coronavirus vaccine.
But the idea that Brexit enabled the UK to press ahead and authorise one is not right.
Under European law a vaccine must be authorised by the EMA, but individual countries can use an emergency procedure that allows them to distribute a vaccine for temporary use in their domestic market.
Britain is still subject to those EU rules during the post-Brexit transition period which runs until the end of the year.
The UK's own medicines regulator, the MHRA, confirmed this in a statement last month .
And its chief executive, Dr June Raine, said today that "we have been able to authorise the supply of this vaccine using provisions under European law, which exist until 1 January".
It is true that, in general, regulation of new medicines is done on an EU-wide basis. But that does not take account of the emergency provisions in EU law which Dr Raine refers to.
Read the full analysis here.

Round-up of main headlines

Our live coverage will be coming to a close shortly, on a day which has been dominated by the news that a vaccine will begin being rolled out in the UK next week. Here is a round-up of the main developments:


Thanks for joining us

We are pausing our live coverage of the coronavirus outbreak for now. Thanks for joining us, we'll be back in the morning to bring you more updates.

Today's coverage has been brought to you by: Marie Jackson, Becky Morton, Joshua Cheetham, Katie Wright, Jennifer Scott, Sean Fanning, Claire Heald and Suzanne Leigh.
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 10085
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

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Post by Kitkat Wed Dec 02 2020, 19:25

EU criticises UK's 'hasty' approval of Covid-19 vaccine, warning that more tests are needed

Irish Post
The European Union has criticised the UK's rapid approval of Covid-19 vaccinations, warning that their hastiness is inappropriate and potentially unsafe.
On Wednesday morning, Britain announced that it had approved Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine for use.
The UK has become the first country in the world to clinically authorise a vaccine, and the Government said it hoped to begin administering jabs to the public by next week.
Under EU rules, any coronavirus vaccine must be authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), but EU countries can use an emergency procedure that allows them to distribute a vaccine at home for temporary use.
Britain, which is still operating under EU law until it officially leaves the bloc next year, exercised this procedure.
But while Downing Street celebrates, it appears Brussels still has some concerns over the Britain's readiness to administer the vaccine so soon.
In a rather blunt statement, the EMA said their longer approval procedure was more appropriate as it was based on more evidence and required more checks than the emergency procedure used by Britain.
A spokesman for the European Commission said the EMA's procedure was "the most effective regulatory mechanism to grant all EU citizens' access to a safe and effective vaccine".
Peter Liese, an EU lawmaker and member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's party, also criticised Britain's hastiness, saying: "I consider this decision to be problematic and recommend that EU Member States do not repeat the process in the same way.
"A few weeks of thorough examination by the European Medicines Agency is better than a hasty emergency marketing authorisation of a vaccine," he added.

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