The COVID-19 Vaccination: What we know so far

On Tuesday 8th December 2020, the first COVID-19 vaccination was administered to 90-year-old, Margaret Keenan, from Coventry. The injection was given at University Hospital in Coventry by matron, May Parsons.

The global pandemic has caused a year of difficulty, as the majority of the UK has been in ‘lockdown’ and strict guidelines have been put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In November, we saw the first vaccinations announced from various healthcare companies, and on 2nd December, the UK authorise the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

How will the vaccine work?

The vaccination will be administered by an injection in the upper arm. There will be two separate injections required, with the second dose given 21 days after the first.

The two infections provide full immunity to COVID-19. 12 days after the first injection is given, the body will start to build immunity, and 7 days after the second dose, the body will have full immunity.

Prior to administering, the vaccination needs to be stored at -70°C.

Who will get the vaccination?

To start with, the government has secured 800,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and orders have been placed for 40 million more. This will be enough for 20 million people to receive the 2 doses.

The first phase of the vaccination has prioritised those who are more vulnerable to COVID-19:

1 – Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
2 – All those aged 80 and over. Frontline health and social care workers
3 – All those aged 75 and over
4 – All those aged 70 and over. Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
5 – All those aged 65 and over
– All individuals aged 16-64 with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
– All those aged 60 and over
– All those aged 55 and over
– All those aged 50 and over

Are there side effects to the vaccine?

Side effects of the vaccination can be a sore arm around where the injection was administered, feeling tired, a headache or feeling achy. These are mild side effects and shouldn’t last longer than a week.

Other symptoms may be the result of coronavirus or another infection, so if you feel ill after having the vaccination, you should contact 111.

The vaccination will now lead the way to the world feeling ‘normal’, however, we still need to follow guidelines set in place to stop the spread of the virus. Social distancing needs to be adhered to, wearing a face-coverings and continue to fully wash your hands.

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