Vaccinating Sheffield will be ‘ginormous’ effort with Covid measures in place until the ‘very end’

Sheffield’s director of public health has spoken about the city’s journey towards being fully vaccinated following the news that vaccinations will start in the country from next week.

Wednesday, 2nd December 2020, 8:33 pm
Greg Fell - Director for Public Health Sheffield.

Greg Fell, Sheffield director of public health, gave a presentation in a full council meeting today updating councillors on Covid-19.

It came as it was announced that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was safe to use, and that the government would be rolled out from next week.

Mr Fell said: “There is significant effort on preparations for vaccines, the one that has been licensed today which has been hugely important news is the one that is perhaps the most difficult to handle because it needs to be stored in minus 85 degrees fridges.

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"There are currently two others that are going through the regulatory process which won’t need deep freeze storage and will be handled in the same way we handle flu vaccines.

“The logistics are being handled by NHS England. There will be an all-out effort to progress the vaccination as quickly as we possibly can, as soon as there are substantial quantities of vaccine available. Some will be this calendar year but most likely the big chunk will be next calendar year.

“It will take some time to vaccinate the eligible population, it will be a ginormous effort and we cannot relax everything else until we have achieved herd immunity and the estimate is that we are going to need to vaccinate most of the eligible population to achieve herd immunity.

“We can’t adopt a position of ‘it’s all over now there’s a vaccine’, we can adopt when we are all vaccinated but for now we will still be in a position where we need to keep washing our hands and wearing face coverings etc. The fundamentals will remain the fundamentals right to the very end - wash your hands, keep your distance, wear your face mask and try to limit the number of people you have contact with.”

Britain's medicines regulator, the MHRA, says the jab, offers up to 95 percent protection against Covid-19 illness.

The first doses are already on their way to the UK, with 800,000 due in the coming days, Pfizer said.