Britain is preparing to become the first country to roll out the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine from Tuesday this week.
It will initially make the shot available at hospitals before distributing stocks to doctors’ clinics, the government said on Sunday.Video Player is loading.
Footage posted by the National Health Service (NHS) showed boxes containing doses of the vaccine being delivered to Croydon University Hospital in south London and being stored in a special, securely locked fridge.
“This is just so exciting. It’s a momentous occasion,” said Louise Coghlan, joint chief pharmacist at the Croydon health service.
“To know that they are here and we are much the first in the country to actually receive the vaccine, and therefore the first in the world, is just amazing. I’m so proud.”
The first doses are set to be administered on Tuesday, with the NHS giving top priority to vaccinating the over-80s, frontline healthcare workers and care home staff and residents.
Britain gave emergency use approval for the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech last week – jumping ahead in the global race to begin the most crucial mass inoculation programme in history.
In total, Britain has ordered 40 million doses. As each person requires two doses, that is enough to vaccinate 20 million people in the country of 67 million.
About 800,000 doses are expected to be available within the first week.
Initial doses that have arrived from Belgium are being stored in secure locations across the country, where they will be quality checked, the health ministry said.