The UK will be the first country to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. Trials have proven the vaccine to be 95% effective and will be administered as early as this week in health and social care settings.
Here, we will look at who will be given priority in the vaccination programme, and how this will affect nurses and carers.
What is Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and how does it work?
The vaccine has been jointly developed by American pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer and German biotechnology company BioNTech and is known as a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine.
Traditional vaccines are produced using weakened forms of a virus, but mRNA vaccines use only the virus’s genetic code.
As no virus particles are needed to create an mRNA vaccine, the rate at which it can be produced is dramatically accelerated and it is cheaper to produce. One downside, however, is that it needs to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures and cannot be transported easily.
How safe is the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine?
Analysis suggests the vaccine can prevent 95% of people from getting Covid-19; 94% in older age groups.
It has been tested on 43,500 people from six countries and no safety concerns were raised.
The vaccine has been approved for use by the UK medicines regulator the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
When will the vaccination programme begin?
Frontline health and social care workers (like Florence nurses and carers), as well as the elderly and the most vulnerable will be one of the first to receive the vaccine.
The first doses of the vaccine are to be administered from Tuesday 8th December, with vaccinations being delivered to primary care networks throughout December and vaccination centres will be set up.
Who will be vaccinated first?
A priority list for phase one of the Covid-19 vaccination programme was drawn by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which advises health and social care staff on immunisation.
Residents and care staff in care homes for older adults were given top priority for vaccination. This was followed by people aged 80 and over, and front-line health and social care staff.
However, getting the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to care home residents is challenging because of the requirements for transporting it and the temperature at which it is stored. So the focus, initially, is on vaccinating care home staff and the over 80s.
How will agency workers get the vaccine?
Agency workers need to speak with the care home they are working at to understand their process for receiving the vaccine.
Do let the care home you are working at know that you are to be included in their plans for immunisation, as a frontline worker at their care setting.
Florence letter of employment
You may be required to show proof of your role as a frontline care worker in order to get the vaccination.Florence can provide you with a letter of employment for this. To request one, please call your account manager on 020 3911 2555, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here to help
Here at Florence, your dedicated account manager is always on hand to support you and help you with any concerns you may have - we’re only a call away. Get in touch by calling your account manager on 020 3911 2555, or emailing email@example.com.
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