The UK just became the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine.
The first doses are already en route to the UK. It is expected that approximately 800,000 will arrive in the coming days.
The top priorities right now in the UK are elderly people and care homes and care home staff members followed by those over 80 years old and health care staff.
Pfizer has one of the more difficult storage requirements which require the vaccines to be stored at very cold temperatures.
Because these temperatures are so cold many facilities will not immediately have the requisite refrigerators needed to store the vaccines.
Therefore, the vaccinations will likely take place at hospitals at least in the beginning.
This, unfortunately, will make things difficult for the very elderly and frail located in care homes.
It is going to present some major logistical challenges and will require some older age groups to travel to the hospitals.
That’s because the vaccines can only be moved once and have to be moved in batches of 1,000.
Many care homes may only have a dozen or so residents who qualify so a lot of vaccines would go to waste if they were delivered directly to the nursing homes.
According to BBC, “The Pfizer/BioNTech jab is the fastest vaccine to go from concept to reality, taking only 10 months to follow the same steps that normally span 10 years.”
That’s either really exciting or a bit scary depending on how you look at it.
I think it’s good to remember that these vaccines have been given to tens of thousands of people and have been shown to be extremely effective with only very mild side effects in a small percentage of people.
The UK has already ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine which should be enough to vaccinate 20 million people since it requires a double dosage.
Based on these vaccines, it looks like the timeline for getting things somewhat back to normal is probably in the spring, around Easter.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock stated, “I’m confident now, with the news today, that from spring, from Easter onwards, things are going to be better. And we’re going to have a summer next year that everybody can enjoy.”
“It’s the protection of vaccines that will ultimately allow us to reclaim our lives and get the economy moving again.”
Approval for the Pfizer vaccine will likely take place next week in the US and we will start seeing dosages go out very soon after that.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC. Read my bio.