Pfizer Covid Vaccine Launched in the UK: How It Happens

A nurse prepares to give a flu shot to a man.

Norphoto | Norphoto | Getty Images

The United Kingdom was the first country in the world to approve Pfizer and BioNTech’s groundbreaking coronavirus vaccine for widespread use. In a way, that was the easy part.

Now, it has to deal with rolling out millions of doses of vaccine with special transportation and storage needs, establishing appropriate vaccination sites and delivering shots first and foremost to the most vulnerable members of the population and healthcare workers.

The vaccination program begins next week, with senior UK officials admitting that getting started will not be easy. For example, Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned that the vaccination program would be “one of the largest civilian logistical efforts we have encountered as a nation,” while Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that administering the vaccine poses “enormous logistical challenges”.

“Make no mistake, this is going to be a tough proposition,” said Dr. Adam Parker and Dr. Tara Ravindran, health analyst at Sure Capital investment group, on Wednesday.

“Although the NHS is well-versed in providing vaccines (it delivers about 15 million flu vaccines per year as an example), the Pfizer / BioNTech Candidate has distinct characteristics that make it more difficult to introduce.”

Summarizing the logistical challenges of mRNA-based vaccine transport and delivery – developed at breakneck speed and proven to be 95% effective in preventing Covid-19 infection in late-stage clinical trials – the analysts said:

They indicated that “the filter must be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit) for long periods and it will be delivered in special delivery containers that can contain the product for up to 10 days.”

“Once the containers reach the pollination site, they can be used for temporary storage for another 30 days (as long as they are filled with dry ice every five days) and once the pollen is thawed, it can be stored at cooled temperatures (2-8 degrees Celsius) for up to five days.”

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Pfizer’s vaccines for the UK come from the company’s manufacturing site in Puurs, Belgium (which, unsurprisingly, will be used to supply Europe). Thousands of doses. Coming in batches of 975, it will be placed in special freezer boxes that will then be transported or shipped to the UK and distributed to hospital vaccination centers.

Preparation, preparation and preparation

“It’s a case of preparation, preparation and preparation,” said John Pearson, DHL Express chief executive.

The German courier company DHL already has a “Medical Express” service that specializes in delivering products with specific critical needs, such as the need for constant and stable temperature control. Pearson said the company was expecting a call “in the very near future” asking them to participate in the delivery of the Pfizer vaccine to the UK

“We focus on the original pick-up point, delivery to the destination and making sure that it maintains its temperature all the time,” he told CNBC’s Squawk Box Europe on Thursday. “This is our role, and we are strongly committed to it.”

Pearson said the logistical challenge was “in our wheelhouse.”

“The transit time for any shipment to any of our 220 countries is from one to five days. A Pfizer vaccine, for example, can maintain its sensitivity to temperature for 10 days, so there is an insulation there,” he said.

“Basically, what we have to do is make sure we have all the dangerous goods permits, and all the active loggers in the boxes that make sure that the temperature is maintained throughout the journey, then we will deliver it to where we have been asked to deliver it to.

When will people be vaccinated?

The UK has previously ordered 40 million doses of Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine – enough to vaccinate 20 million people – but the delivery will not be carried out all at once.

On Wednesday, Pfizer said, “The delivery of 40 million doses will take place during the years 2020 and 2021 in phases to ensure the equitable distribution of vaccines across geographical areas with enforceable contracts.”

“Now that the vaccine is licensed in the UK, companies will take immediate action to start delivery of vaccine doses. The first doses are expected to arrive in the UK in the coming days, with expected delivery completed in 2021.”

A worker passes a line of freezers carrying the Coronavirus (COVID-19) candidate BNT162b2 vaccine at the Pfizer facility in Bor, Belgium, in an undated photo.

Pfizer | Via Reuters

Health Minister Hancock told the British House of Commons on Wednesday that every batch of the vaccine will be tested for safety. “I can confirm that batch testing has been completed this morning to deploy 800,000 doses of vaccine for the first time,” He told Parliament.

The nation’s National Health Service will begin vaccination next week, but Simon Stephens, chief executive of NHS England, confirmed on Wednesday that the bulk of The vaccination program From January 2021 through March and April for “people at risk”.

The government plans to start delivery of the vaccine from 50 “hospital centers”, as well as from community settings such as doctors’ surgeries at a later time.

Who gets it first?

The United Kingdom’s Joint Commission on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) On Wednesday, you identified who you think should receive the vaccine first, Noting that “the first priorities for any Covid-19 vaccination program must be the prevention of Covid-19 deaths and the protection of health and social care personnel and systems.”

The list of priorities is as follows:

  1. Residents of nursing homes and their caregivers
  2. Those aged 80 and over with health and social care workers are on the front lines
  3. Those aged 75 and over
  4. Those 70 years of age and over and clinically at risk individuals
  5. Those aged 65 and over
  6. Individuals between the ages of 16 and 64 suffer from underlying health conditions that make them more susceptible to serious illness and death
  7. Those aged 60 and over
  8. Those aged 55 and over
  9. Those aged 50 and over

Health analysts at Shore Capital said they expect volunteers from various disciplines (from nurses and paramedics to trained volunteers to even veterinarians) to participate in the startup. On Wednesday, the NHS volunteer network called for volunteers who could be trained to either deliver the vaccine or help those who receive it.

Aside from the need to recruit people to deliver vaccines, other challenges include the need for a robust information technology system to track who has been vaccinated. Individuals will also be asked to notify when they need to receive their second filter dose, which comes 21 days after the first dose.

“Additionally, the Pfizer / BioNTech product must be diluted with a saline solution before it is administered, which is very uncommon with other vaccines. All support components necessary for filter delivery (such as syringes, alcohol wipes, and gloves) must also be coordinated,” said Parker and Ravindran of Shore Capital.

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