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UK Starts Mass COVID-19 Vaccination Program
By admin December 8, 2020

The UK became the first Western country to initiate a mass COVID vaccination program, a milestone moment in the course of the pandemic. Some key stories below.

CNN:

The first Briton to get the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine — 90-year-old Margaret Keenan — received the first of two doses at 6:31 a.m. local time on Tuesday at University Hospital in Coventry, less than a week after the UK became the first country to approve it.Keenan, who turns 91 next week, said she felt “privileged” to be the first to get the shot.”It’s the best early birthday present I could wish for because it means I can finally look forward to spending time with my family and friends in the New Year after being on my own for most of the year,” she said, according to a statement released by the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).

BBC:

Margaret Keenan, who turns 91 next week, said it was the “best early birthday present”.

She was given the injection at 06:31 GMT – the first of 800,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine that will be dispensed in the coming weeks.

Up to four million more are expected by the end of the month.

Hubs in the UK will vaccinate over-80s and some health and care staff – the programme aims to protect the most vulnerable and return life to normal.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who has dubbed Tuesday V-day, said this simple act of vaccination was “a tribute to scientific endeavour and human ingenuity and to the hard work of so many people.

“Today marks the start of the fightback against our common enemy, the coronavirus,” he said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, on a visit to a London hospital to see some of the first people getting the jab, said getting vaccinated was “good for you and good for the whole country”.

NY Times:

 In Bristol, a sports stadium is being converted into a temporary clinic to provide inoculations, as is a racecourse outside London. Village halls, libraries and parking lots across the country are also being quickly turned into makeshift vaccination centers, with the government enlisting military planners for advice.

As it prepares to begin rolling out a coronavirus vaccine on Tuesday, Britain is taking on the biggest logistical challenge ever faced by the country’s health service, the vaccination of tens of millions of people against coronavirus in a matter of months. At the same time, law enforcement authorities are contending with an array of potential security threats to the vaccination campaign.

Inoculations are expected to begin Tuesday at selected hospitals throughout Britain that have received the first batches of vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech, which need to be stored at very low temperatures. But the temporary clinics that are being hurriedly put together are expected to play critical roles as the mass vaccination program expands.

ABC:

The U.K. is the first Western country to start a mass vaccination program after British regulators last week authorized the use of a COVID-19 shot developed by U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech. U.S. and European Union regulators may approve the vaccine in the coming days or weeks, fueling a global immunization effort.

Britain’s program is likely to provide lessons for other countries as they prepare for the unprecedented task of vaccinating billions of people. U.K. health officials have been working for months to adapt a system geared toward vaccinating groups of people like school children and pregnant women into one that can rapidly reach much of the nation’s population.

Amid the fanfare that greeted Britain’s first shot, authorities warned that the vaccination campaign would take many months, meaning painful restrictions that have disrupted daily life and punished the economy are likely to continue until spring.

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