UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson says it will be some months before all the most vulnerable people receive COVID-19 vaccines, with England's health service boss saying the bulk of the jabs will be given between January and April.
"It will inevitably take some months before all the most vulnerable are protected," Johnson told a media conference after the country approved the first COVID-19 vaccine tested in wide-scale clinical trials.
Simon Stevens, the chief executive of England's health service, said the first vaccinations would begin this month.
"The bulk of this vaccination program, either through this vaccine, or hopefully others as well that will join it will take place in the period January through to March or April for the at-risk population," he said.
BioNTech will send the COVID-19 vaccine it has developed with Pfizer in temperature-controlled boxes to the UK by ferry or plane, a senior executive said on Wednesday.
Chief business and chief commercial officer of the German biotech Sean Marett made the comments in a briefing after the UK approved the vaccine, jumping ahead of the US and Europe to formally endorse a jab.
Marett said the vaccine, which should reach the most vulnerable people early next week, can be transported after leaving storage for up to six hours at 2C to 8C and can last for five days in a normal fridge.
His comments will allay some concerns that the shots need to be stored at minus 70C, equivalent to the Antarctic winter, which may be difficult for nursing homes and other locations where the shots will be administered first.
Australian Associated Press