This from NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens:
“This is an important next step in our response to the Coronavirus pandemic and hospitals will shortly kick off the first phase of the largest scale vaccination campaign in our country’s history.
“The NHS has a proven track record of delivering large scale vaccinations from the winter flu jab to BCG and, once the final hurdles are cleared and the vaccine arrives in England’s hospitals, health service staff will begin offering people this ground-breaking jab in a programme that will expand to cover the whole country in the coming months.”
Despite the huge complexities, staff have been working to ensure that when it is approved and ready for use, the NHS is able to vaccinate from day one. The time between approval and deployment of a vaccine like this might typically be expected to take around a week, due to travel and extensive safety and quality control checks.
The vaccine will be dispatched by Pfizer from Belgium, to arrive at an unnamed location in the UK followed by quality checks after its delivery. These will include multiple temperature checks and GPS log checks.
After central checks are complete, first orders will be placed and must be ordered by 11.55am for next day delivery. Orders from the NHS can then be processed by Public Health England.
Delivery will be dependent on the guidelines set out by regulators for distribution.
As the Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at very cold temperatures and carefully handled, it will initially only be delivered from ‘hospital hubs’. The first stage of the phased vaccine rollout will start once it has been distributed.