The UK citizens are likely to get the Covid-19 vaccines earlier than the Americans. With various governments setting a start-date for the Covid vaccine rollout, timelines have become clearer. The UK regulators are expected to make the final appraisal of the Pfizer vaccine in good time to make a December 1 rollout possible, the Telegraph has reported.
However, the proceedings are taking longer in the US, forcing a delay in the rollout of the vaccine there, even though Pfizer is an American drug behemoth.
The UK regulators could green light the Pfizer vaccine for use in the country in 'less than a week' while the National Health Service (NHS) is on standby to start the vaccination campaign, official sources told the daily. This timeline is termed as the 'best case scenario' and changes to the schedule might still happen.
UK Orders 40 Million Doses
The UK has ordered 40 million doses of which it expects to have 10 million doses soon. This will be enough to vaccinate as many as 5 million people right away. "If the regulator approves a vaccine we will be ready to start the vaccination next month with the bulk of roll-out in the new year ... We are heading in the right direction but there is still a long way to go," Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.
If the rollout starts as planned, the first jabs will be given early next month to elderly people in care homes. Also in the list of priority are care home workers as well as health care professionals and social workers. Under the most sanguine of scenarios, all adults, irrespective of age, could start getting the vaccine doses before the end of January.
Apart from the Pfizer vaccine, other jabs are also in the pipeline in the UK. These include 5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine and 100 million doses of the Oxford vaccine.
FDA to Meet on December 10
Meanwhile, in the US, authorities said the vaccination programme could start by Mid-December. Moncef Slaoui, chief scientific adviser for Operation Warp Speed, said the FDA would greenlight the inoculation programme any day after December 10. The US authorities plan to roll out the vaccine produced by Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is not meeting until December 10, a factor that would push the vaccine rollout start date beyond the expected timeline in the UK. However, the US regulators could issue the final verdict in less than 24 hours after the meeting.
"Within 24 hours from the approval, the vaccine will be moving and located in the areas where each state will have told us where they want the vaccine doses," Slaoui said.
"So I would expect, maybe on day two after approval on the 11th or 12th of December, hopefully the first people will be immunized across the United States," he added, according to Reuters.
More than 200 coronavirus vaccine candidates are being tested around the world, while 12 are in the final stages of testing and validation.