Some GPs in England will start offering COVID-19 vaccines from Monday, with more to follow on Tuesday, the country’s health service said.
Practices in more than 100 parts of the country are taking delivery of the vaccine, the National Health Service (NHS) said on Monday.
Some of the practices will start vaccination against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus on Monday afternoon, and the majority will start on Tuesday.
Local vaccination centres will also be set up in all parts of England.
“The latest phase of the vaccine roll-out is being co-ordinated by GP-led primary care networks with more practices and community pharmacies in other parts of England joining on a phased basis during December and in the coming months,” NHS Director of Primary Care Dr. Nikki Kanani said in a statement.
Over-80s and care home residents and workers are on top of the priority list for the first phase roll-out of the vaccine.
The NHS said that care home residents will receive their first vaccination later this week after distributors finalise the delivery process of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which needs to be stored at all times at around -94 degrees F (-70 degrees C) to ensure its effectiveness.
The NHS said it will contact people in the priority groups when it’s their turn to receive the vaccine.
“Patients will be contacted and invited for vaccination—we would urge them not to contact their practice enquiring about vaccination, we will contact them,” professor Martin Marshall, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said.
Kanani urged the public to come forward when they are called up for the vaccination.
The Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is given as two doses of injections at least 21 days apart.
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on Dec. 9 advised people with a history of severe allergic reactions to a vaccine, medicine, or food against receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, after “two people with a history of significant allergic reactions responded adversely” to the jab on Dec. 8.
NHS England national medical director professor Stephen Powis said the allergic reaction is “common with new vaccines” and that “both are recovering well.”
Dr. June Raine, chief executive of the MHRA, said on Dec. 9 that people can be “completely confident” with the vaccine.
“No vaccine would be approved unless it meets these stringent standards—on that you can be sure,” Raine said in a statement.
“We have in place a robust and proactive safety monitoring strategy for COVID-19 vaccines which allows for rapid, real-time safety monitoring at population level. The fact that these incidents were picked up and reviewed shows that to be the case.”
The UK approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on Dec. 2 and began vaccinating priority groups on Dec. 8, becoming the first country to approve and roll out the vaccine.
Nadra Ahmed, chairwoman of the National Care Association, a representative body of a number of care providers, said an internal survey suggested that 50 to 60 percent of care workers are keen to get the vaccine, 17 to 20 percent said they definitely won’t have it, and the rest are waiting to see.
An article published on Thursday by trade magazine Community Care said that 41 percent of around 300 staff who participated in a snapshot survey said they would not take a vaccine, citing reasons including a lack of information about side effects and the duration of immunity.
Zachary Stieber and Alexander Zhang contributed to this report.