After United Kingdom (UK) authorised the use of Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, a team of medical experts on Wednesday informed that senior citizens, who are more susceptible to dying from the virus will be prioritised during vaccine distribution in the country.

While addressing a technical briefing on UK approval of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine, Professor Wei Shen Lim, Chair of Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation: "Residents in care homes for older adults and care home workers are the highest priority. Following that are those of eight years of age and above, alongside frontline workers. Then come those 75 years of age, followed by those 70 years and above, alongside those who are clearly extremely vulnerable because of specific health conditions." Terming this as 'Phase 1' of the vaccine distribution, Lim said 90-99 per cent of people who are at risk of dying from COVID-19 were expected to be covered during this phase.

Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed informed that the vaccine intake requires two doses in the period of 21 days.

"A partial immunity occurs after the first dose, and we can see some protection after day 12 from the first dose of the vaccine," he said.

He also asserted the importance of taking active surveillance of the vaccine after it has been used by people, including the use of yellow cards and a special action programme.
"The committee also observed that no specific precautions were required on the administration of this vaccine in people who already have had COVID-19, and testing is required before the use of the vaccine," he added.

Dr June Raine, Chief Exec of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), praised the authorities for the approval of the vaccine as COVID-19 rampages through the world.

"This vaccine has only been approved because strict tests have been done and complied with, and everyone can be absolutely confident that no corners have been cut," she said.
Meanwhile, Lim also advised committee teams responsible for vaccine distribution to reduce health inequalities.

"We suggest that committee teams work together to mitigate health inequalities that might occur in relation to ethnicity, deprivation or access to healthcare," said Lim.

Earlier today, the UK became the first country in the world to authorise the use of Pfizer and BioNTech for emergency purposes, thus, paving way for the delivery of the vaccines from next week.

"Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE announced today that the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the U.K. has granted a temporary authorization for emergency use for their COVID-19 mRNA vaccine (BNT162b2), against COVID-19.

This constitutes the first Emergency Use Authorization following a worldwide Phase 3 trial of a vaccine to help fight the pandemic," the official statement from Pfizer read.

The statement said Pfizer and BioNTech are anticipating further regulatory decisions across the globe in the coming days and weeks and are ready to deliver vaccine doses following potential regulatory authorizations or approvals. (ANI)