This week, people around the world got a pleasant surprise when Pfizer on Monday announced that its vaccine candidate was found to be more than 90% effective in preventing Covid-19 in participants without evidence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection in the first interim efficacy analysis. Within hours of the announcement, several countries like UK, India, Spain and others declared that they were in the process of procuring millions of doses of the vaccine.
But the burning question is – even when the vaccine does arrive and the countries manage to get their hands on it, who gets it first?
After Pfizer’s announcement, the UK government announced that they will be getting 10 million doses of vaccine this year itself. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain had now ordered 40 million doses of the candidate vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech , enough to give protection to a third of the population. His spokesman said 10 million doses were due by the end of 2020 pending regulatory approval.
Johnson – who himself was hospitalised earlier this year after being stricken with COVID-19 – said that once the vaccine was approved, Britain would be ready to start using it. The health service woud lead a programme of distribution, with the elderly and frontline workers first in line.
Not just Pfizer. The government has signed six supply deals for vaccine candidates, including Pfizer/BioNTech’s and one developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca.
But you’re mistaken if you think that the British royal family would get to jump the queue and get vaccinated first.
No one will be given special treatment, as confirmed by a government official. According to a report by Daily Mail, the government official said that the vaccine would only be available through the United Kingdom National Health Service (NHS) and not even big companies will get an edge over the common man.
Guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) had made it clear that those living in care homes, considered to be the most vulnerable to coronavirus, would be the first in line. Next, people above 80 will be vaccinated. This will include Queen Elizabeth, who is 94 years old. Following senior citizens, those who are aged 75, over-70s, over-65s and high-risk adults under 65 would be vaccinated. If this method is followed, the younger royals – Prince William and his family, or even the Prime Minister himself — would get access to the vaccine much later.
This week, it also came to light that Britain’s Prince William had tested positive for coronavirus in April this year and that it had been quite serious. Prince William kept his positive coronavirus test a secret in order to not worry anyone around the time his father, Prince Charles, was also self-isolating after his own COVID-19 diagnosis, UK media reports claimed on Monday.