Health boss gives update on when to expect COVID vaccinations in Sheffield

Sheffield’s director fo public health Greg Fell has issued an update in which he addresses the potential for COVID vaccinations in the city and when they can be expected.
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Mr Fell also explained the steps that need to be taken by the major pharmaceutical firms behind the two most prominent vaccines which are likely to be administered in the UK in an effort to stope the spread of coronavirus.

He said: “The vaccine is clearly coming, we have all read about that in the press. The two most likely candidates that will get over the line first are from Pfizer and Astrazeneca.

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"There is a lot of clinical science to play out in terms of how they get used. Neither manufacturer has filed papers with the MHRA yet so there is no licensing application. Before we can use those vaccines they will have to go through the licensing process.

Sheffield's Director of Public Health, Greg FellSheffield's Director of Public Health, Greg Fell
Sheffield's Director of Public Health, Greg Fell

"I think it is unlikely that there will be significant quantities of vaccine being given to anybod this calendar year, 2020. There will be a few, but it’s unlikely there will be a large volume.

"Some of my team, particularly the NHS, are working hugely hard on the operational arrangements to deliver the vaccine so that when we do have significant quantities we can go as fast as we possible can.

"This will be an all-out effort to deliver as much vaccine as possible in the shortest space of time and the arrangements for that are bing put into place now.

There are two leading candidates for a COVID vaccine in the UK.There are two leading candidates for a COVID vaccine in the UK.
There are two leading candidates for a COVID vaccine in the UK.
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"My sense is, and this is a guess, it will probably take us three to six months to get a fully vaccinated population.”

Mr Fell outlined the priority order in which the vaccine would be administered, with care home residents and staff getting it first.

NHS staff would follow, and then the vaccine would be given to people in order of age group, with the oldest and most vulnerable to more severe illness first.

“We will be getting going just before Christmas,” he added. “It will be on a fairly small scale at first but certainly, as soon as the vaccine is available after Christmas it will be on a much bigger and much faster scale.

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"We don’t yet know about the impact of the vaccine on the transmission of the virus. It takes 28 days from its administration to develop an immune response and at that point we will begin to have real life data on this.

"It is unlikely the vaccine would have an impact on transmission until we get into vaccinating large volumes of people. Hence. we’re focusing early on individuals most succeptible to severe illness.

"So, in summary, it’s coming. We are putting into place the arrangements to deliver it as fast as we can.

"There are still some uncertainties about the science and both of the most likely manufacturers have to get a license application through, but that will be done pretty quickly.

"I think it will take us a minimum of three months, possibly up to six months, to get a fully vaccinated population.”