Matt Hancock says there could be annual coronavirus vaccine
Vaccination efforts will be accelerated today in a bid to reach the Government’s target of 15 million people vaccinated by mid-February, with every adult in the UK vaccinated by autumn. To fulfil this promise, seven mass vaccination centres will open across England today. These centres will be joined later this week by hundreds more GP-led and hospital services along with the first pharmacy-led pilot sites, taking the total of sites to around 1,200.
Where is my nearest vaccination centre?
The new centres will open in Bristol, Surrey, London, Newcastle, Manchester, Stevenage and Birmingham.
Ashton Gate football stadium in Bristol, Epsom racecourse in Surrey, the Excel Centre where London’s Nightingale hospital is based, Newcastle’s Centre for Life, the Manchester Tennis and Football Centre, Robertson House in Stevenage and Birmingham’s Millennium Point will offer jabs to people aged 80 and older, along with health and care staff.
Who else is first in line?
The Government set out its priority groups on December 30. Top of the list are nine different categories, based mostly on age, referred to as Phase 1 of the programme.
The list starts with residents in care homes for older adults plus their carers.
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Second comes people over 80 plus frontline health and social care workers.
Third comes all people over 75, then people over 70 plus anyone classed as extremely vulnerable due to other clinical conditions, down to the ninth grouping of people aged from 50 to 54.
The list of priority was determined from data showing the number of people in each category who would need to be vaccinated to prevent one death.
Phase 2 deals with people whose jobs put them at risk to Covid exposure.
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The Government says this could include first responders, the military, people employed in the justice system, teachers, transport workers and public servants who are critical to the fight against the pandemic.
What vaccines have been approved in the UK?
There are currently three vaccinations approved for the UK.
First came the Pfizer/BioNTech jab, then the Oxford/AstraZeneca, and last week, the third, made by US firm Moderna.
The Oxford/AstraZeneca jab has one clear advantage over the other vaccines – it is easier to distribute.
Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines must be kept at extremely low temperatures, often requiring very careful delivery chains involving hi-tech freezers and dry ice.
The Oxford/AstraZeneca jab, on the other hand, can be kept at a regular fridge temperature, removing obstacles to distribution, particularly in poorer countries.
The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has been shown to be around 70 percent effective, whereas trials have shown the Moderna vaccine to be 94.5 percent effective.
Similarly, the Pfizer/BioNTech jab has shown to be 95 percent effective.
How to book a coronavirus vaccination
You can book a coronavirus vaccination if you have received a letter inviting you to book your vaccination appointments.
According to the NHS, letters are being sent out every week – you might not get your letter straight away.
You will also need to be registered with a GP surgery in England. You can register with a GP if you do not have one.
Coronavirus – symptoms to watch out for
The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
- A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.
“Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms,” explains the NHS.
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