Why is the UK in a good position to fight Covid-19 with the Pfizer vax?

On Monday (9/11/2020), the UK government announced that they had bought 40 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Alongside this announcement, the EU shared that they have ordered 200 million doses, and the US, 100 million. So what does that mean for our capacity to innoculate the country?

This investment makes the UK capable of the highest percentage rate of vaccination out of the three main global powers. 

Just like the MMR and tetanus vaccines, people will have to be injected twice with the Pfizer jab. 

We’ve done the maths and found that means that we have the capacity in this country to innoculate around 30% of the UK population with the stocks bought. While that might not sound like a lot, compare it to the EU’s capacity (22%) and the US (15%) and you soon realise just what a golden position we’re in. 

And despite the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine seems to be the one that’ll be ready first, it is not the only vaccine that the government has ordered in the hope of a cure. It is thought that Britain's potential vaccine stockpile totals at 340 million doses and is made up of four types of vaccinations that all apply different scientific approaches. 

The news of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine prompted an extra £150m investment for GPs across the UK. This money will be pumped into what the government is calling a ‘Covid-19 vaccination enhanced service’. This project will see groups of GP practices sharing the same vaccination centre, at which their patients will be jabbed. This strategy ensures that the vaccine will be offered seven days a week in one of the largest public health initiatives. 

The UK healthcare system also has a strong collaborative history with Pfizer, one of the companies behind the vaccine, together launching a ‘Vaccination’ campaign in September. The initiative aims to increase public funding for the prevention of diseases through vaccination, which currently amounts to only 5% of spending. The Covid-19 vaccine roll-out will benefit hugely from this collaboration as it shines a light on the priority that vaccinations must have across the NHS.  

We all know that the UK has an aging population and that Covid-19’s largest risk factor is old-age. But given that Britons aged over 65 only make up 18% of the population (2% lower than the EU average), we’re in a good position to offer the vaccine to those who fall below the older age tiers and who may still be medically vulnerable.

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Information written by the talkhealth team

Last revised: 12 November 2020
Next review: 12 November 2023