In March last year, the first national lockdown was called. Life as we know it was halted to curb by the spread of Covid-19, a killer that was insignificant 2 months prior. But, after 100,000 deaths, and 3 national lockdowns, the end is nigh! On the 3rd of December 2020, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was given emergency approval for use in the UK. This was closely followed by the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, developed in Oxford, at the end of December. The Moderna vaccine has most recently been approved on the 8th of January 2021, therefore there should be enough vaccine doses to reach herd immunity by September, the Government says. It is hard to know when everyone can get a vaccine, but what we know is that over 10 million have received the first dose, so before long we will too!
As mentioned before, three vaccines have been approved for use in the UK thus far. The first vaccine is the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. It is an mRNA vaccine proven to be up to 95% effective in clinical trials after 2 doses. Soon after, the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine was approved for use in Britain, which is proven to be around 62% effective. It is a weakened strain of the adenovirus, also known as the common cold, which has been modified to imitate Covid-19. The antibody reaction, therefore, will provide active immunity. Soon after, the Moderna vaccine was also approved for use. This vaccine is proven to be 94.5% effective and is also an mRNA vaccine. The second dose is given 12 weeks after the first dose.
Where you can get them
The nationwide drive to get vaccinated has started since December. It was recently announced that 10 million people have had their first jab. Hospitals, GPs and even Asda Pharmacies will continue to vaccinate around to clock as the aim is to vaccinate everyone over 18 by September. There have been mass vaccination centres created in major cities to reach targets as quickly and effectively as possible. These centres are located in Newcastle, Birmingham, Manchester, Surrey, Stevenage, Bristol, and London. For further information, the government website can guide you to your nearest vaccination centre.
The Government has announced that everyone over the age of 18 will be offered the vaccine by September. Currently, everyone over the age of 70 and frontline staff are being offered the vaccine. Those who are clinically vulnerable or working in care homes are also entitled to a vaccine. Letters are being sent out weekly to let people know when they are also entitled to a vaccination. Current plans have been laid out to get all over 50s vaccinated, after which the government will specify the plans for other vaccinations.
Our efforts are paying off now, it is the final stretch in this lockdown, and we will soon reach the finish line. Vaccinations have started, the r rate has dropped, and I’ve started planning a holiday! It has been almost a year. We have been through 3 national lockdowns and have lost many loved ones. No country has gone unscathed, however, the light at the end of the tunnel is visible, so let us focus on that light. While there is still a long time until we get to the New Zealand level of freedom, every day we get slightly closer, and that is something to celebrate!