A 91-year-old pensioner last night became a national treasure after admitting he was late for his Covid-19 vaccine appointment because he ‘couldn’t find anywhere to damn well park’ on the first day of the biggest-ever mass immunisation programme in British history.
Martin Kenyon spoke about receiving the breakthrough
Discussing how he came about to getting the vaccine, Mr Kenyon said: ‘I rang up Guy’s Hospital which I know very well because I’ve lived in London most of my grown-up life, and I said ‘what’s this thing you’re doing, the vaccination’ and they said ‘yes’ and then they spent various times asking me questions about this and that, not very interesting.
‘I said ‘yes, no, yes, no’ and they said well come at 12.30pm. Well of course I couldn’t find anywhere to damn well park my car so I was late. Anyway I’m here now and I got inside and they duly put me on the list.
‘I went off and had a rather nasty lunch and then came back and they were ready for me. And no it didn’t hurt at all – I didn’t know the needle had gone in until it had come out. It was very interesting. No it was painless.’
On whether it was a ‘quick in and out for the needle, like any vaccination’, he commented: ‘Exactly, well vaccinations aren’t very common are they, one has inoculations.’
Mr Kenyon also said he hopes not to get the ‘bloody bug’ now, adding: ‘I don’t intend to have it because I have granddaughters and I intend to live a long time to enjoy their lives.’ He then showed a card provided to him by the hospital with his name and details for a follow-up appointment, saying: ‘It’s got my name on it and that’s about it. Very unexciting.’
On being able to hug his family once he’s immune to the virus, the pensioner said: ‘Well there’s no point in dying now when I’ve lived this long is there? I don’t plan to anyway.’
Last night thousands of elderly British patients urged vaccine sceptics to have the jab for the good of the country as health bosses prepared for a delivery of more than a million doses of the Pfizer vaccine next week.
The national vaccination drive was launched at 70 UK hospitals, with most doses given to the over-80s. Margaret Keenan, a Coventry grandmother, was first in line, declaring: ‘If I can have it at 90, then you can have it too.’
Lyn Wheeler, 81, who was given the Pfizer jab in front of Boris Johnson at Guy’s in London, called for everyone to do their duty so normal life can resume. ‘It’s all for Britain,’ she added. ‘I’m going for it because I feel there’s no other way forward. We can’t keep sitting in our houses.’
An initial 800,000 doses are being rolled out in the coming days and Health Secretary Matt Hancock has promised millions more before Christmas.
In other coronavirus news:
- Holidays abroad were given the green light for next summer by officials;
- Care homes were told to expect doses of the vaccine by Christmas;
- Mr Hancock appeared to well up on live TV as he described his pride at the rollout;
- The Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine was found to be ‘safe and effective’ in a major study in the Lancet;
- However regulators face a decision over whether to approve the vaccine with a low-dose initial injection;
- US regulators inched closer to approving the Pfizer jab for the most vulnerable;
- Mr Johnson appeared to issue a warning about London following a rise in infection rates, sparking fears it could be plunged into Tier Three next week;
- Chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance warned the public may still be wearing face masks a year from now;
- Schools may be allowed to take an inset day on the last Friday of term so stressed teachers can have a ‘proper break’;
- A further 616 people died of coronavirus, taking the total to 62,033. Another 12,282 cases were confirmed.
Martin Kenyon, 91, pictured during the interview, in which he spoke about receiving Pfizer’s jab at Guy’s Hospital in Southwark, London, this morning with CNN’s Cyril Vanier
The British pensioner has gone viral for his charming tale, telling how he was late for the 12.30pm appointment because he ‘couldn’t find anywhere to damn well park’
The moment Margaret Keenan, 90, became the first patient in the United Kingdom to receive the Pfizer/BioNtech covid-19 vaccine at University Hospital, Coventry, administered by nurse May Parsons, at the start of the largest ever immunisation programme in the UK’s history. ‘Bill’ William Shakespeare, 81 also received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
In a watershed moment, an emotional Mrs Keenan is clapped from the ward after she was vaccinated on the eve of her 91st birthday
Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to to Lyn Wheeler before she received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Guy’s Hospital in London. Mr Johnson was in intensive care at the same trust as he fought Covid earlier this year
An initial 800,000 doses are being rolled out in the coming days and Health Secretary Matt Hancock has promised millions more before Christmas. In other developments. Pictured: Mr Hancock became emotional and appeared to wipe tears from his eyes while being interviewed on ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Tuesday
CNN’s Oliver Darcy tweeted the footage, posting: ‘This interview wins the day’.
Oxford confirms its Covid vaccine is 70% effective and safe – but scientists warn regulators face ‘dilemma’ in approving jab to be given as 1.5 doses (which they accidentally found is 90% protective)
The UK’s regulator now faces a ‘dilemma’ over whether to approve a one-and-a-half dose regimen that researchers accidentally discovered makes the experimental jab 90 per cent effective.
The MHRA has been considering whether to approve the vaccine since November 27 and is expected to reach a decision before the end of the year.
And Oxford’s own scientists suggest they expect approval for the original two-dose regimen before the end of this year, which could later be adapted to the more effective combination if data proves it is better.
A small group of volunteers who were mistakenly only given a half-dose first, followed by a full dose, were found to get a far better 90 per cent protection from the Covid-19.
Researchers on the project — who have yet to publish the final phase three data — said the discovery was ‘intriguing’ and ‘unplanned’ but admitted that they had no idea whether the MHRA would want to approve it this way.
Many social media users commented on the stereotypical Britishness of Mr Kenyon, while others labelled him a ‘national treasure’. One person wrote: ‘Martin Kenyon is a national treasure in the UK now. I hope he can do a cameo on the next season of The Crown!’
Another tweeted: ‘I rang up at half past twelve and said what’s all this I’ve heard about a vaccination?’
TV host Jeremy Vine added: ‘This is Peak British right here. Martin Kenyon has just had the vaccination — sorry, inoculation. Could almost be a Monty Python sketch. Lovely man.’
A fourth wrote: ‘What a charming man. At 91 drove himself to the hospital in London, arranged to get the vaccination, had a ‘nasty lunch’, got inoculated, received a card as proof, and has no intention of dying now. Yes, interview wins the day.’
At least 5,000 people were inoculated – around 100 people in each centre – with 800,000 doses of the Pfizer /BioNtech vaccine already in the country as the UK’s vaccine chief Kate Bingham predicted that in 2021 ‘we will all be going on summer holidays’.
The next to get the jab was William Shakespeare, 81, from near Stratford-upon-Avon – the Bard’s home town – who appeared so relaxed many joked that to him, being the second person in the world to be vaccinated was ‘much ado about nothing’.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was emotional as he watched Mrs Keenan getting the jab this morning after a grim 2020, and cried on Good Morning Britain as Mr Shakespeare hailed the ‘ground-breaking’ jab that will ‘start changing our lives’.
Mr Hancock wiped away tears as he told Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid: ‘It’s been such a tough year for so many people and there’s William Shakespeare putting it simply for everybody that we can get on with our lives’.
But in a gloomy warning for Britain he added: ‘There’s still a few months to go, I’ve still got this worry that we can’t blow it now Piers, we’ve still got to get the vaccine to millions of people so we’ve got to keep sticking to the rules, there’s so much work gone into this – it makes me proud to be British’.
Later in the Commons a more composed Mr Hancock gave a statement to MPs on the vaccine’s rollout and joined in on the Shakespeare puns, declaring: ‘If you prick us, do we not bleed?’
Boris Johnson, who watched people getting vaccinated at Guy’s Hospital this morning, said: ‘It’s a shot in the arm for the entire nation, but we can’t afford to relax now’.
At 6.30am, wearing a bright blue ‘Merry Christmas’ T-shirt, Mrs Keenan, known as ‘Maggie’ to friends and family, could be seen smiling under her mask as the nurse May Parsons at University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire injected her with the life-saving medicine.
Mrs Keenan, a former jewellery shop assistant who only retired four years ago, has a daughter, a son and four grandchildren.
She said: ‘I feel so privileged to be the first person vaccinated against Covid-19, it’s the best early birthday present I could wish for because it means I can finally look forward to spending time with my family and friends in the New Year after being on my own for most of the year.
‘I can’t thank May and the NHS staff enough who have looked after me tremendously, and my advice to anyone offered the vaccine is to take it – if I can have it at 90 then you can have it too.’
Mr Kenyon pictured showing a card provided to him by the hospital with his name and details for a follow-up appointment, saying: ‘It’s got my name on it and that’s about it. Very unexciting’
Many social media users commented on the stereotypical Britishness of Mr Kenyon, while others labelled him a ‘national treasure’ and a ‘charming man’
Boris Johnson with patient Lyn Wheeler before she received her vaccine at Guy’s in south London
Henry Vokes, 98, celebrates after receiving his jab at Southmead Hospital in Bristol
Belfast: Sister Joanna Sloan (left) becomes the first person in Northern Ireland to receive the first of two Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine jabs, at the Royal Victoria Hospital, in Belfast
Cardiff: David Farrell, 51, from Llandow, a care home worker, became one of the first people in Wales to get the vaccine
Staff at Southmead Hospital take delivery of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
The vaccine (pictured) has to be stored at minus 70C and can only be transported at elevated temperatures a limited number of times
It came as V-Day heroes last night urged vaccine sceptics to have the Covid jab for the good of the country ahead of the arrival of more than a million more doses of the Pfizer vaccine next week.
London ‘heading for TIER THREE before Christmas’: Pubs and restaurants could shut AGAIN in new rules shake up on December 16 – as figures reveal capital’s Covid infection rate is now HIGHER than 27 authorities already stuck in toughest restrictions
London’s Covid-19 infection rate is now higher than more than two dozen areas currently stuck under Tier Three restrictions, official data revealed today after Matt Hancock warned the capital is on the verge of being plunged into the toughest measures before Christmas.
Department of Health statistics show the city recorded 169.2 cases of coronavirus per 100,000 people during the seven-day spell ending December 2 — the day England’s national lockdown finished and Number 10 reverted back to its whack-a-mole style approach to thwarting local outbreaks.
For comparison, the city’s Covid infection rate stood at 151.6 in the last seven days before Downing St’s blanket intervention was imposed on November 2.
MailOnline’s analysis of Government figures show London is now recording more cases per day, for its size, than 27 of 61 authorities currently living under Tier Three curbs, including Nottingham, Leeds, Leicestershire, Bristol, Newcastle and Derby.
And 21 out of the capital’s 32 boroughs saw a rise in coronavirus infections in the last week of the shutdown, with the biggest surges in Haringey, Bromley and Kingston.
Asked whether the capital is in danger of being upgraded to Tier Three next week, the Health Secretary pointed to rising cases as he pleaded with people to keep obeying the rules. He urged the capital’s 9million residents to stick by the rules and ‘not push the boundaries’.
Thousands of elderly British patients made history yesterday by being the first in the world to get the injection outside of medical trials.
The national vaccination drive was launched at 70 UK hospitals, with most doses given to the over-80s. Margaret Keenan, a Coventry grandmother, was first in line, declaring: ‘If I can have it at 90, then you can have it too.’
Lyn Wheeler, 81, who was given the Pfizer jab in front of Boris Johnson at Guy’s in London, called for everyone to do their duty so normal life can resume.
‘It’s all for Britain,’ she added. ‘I’m going for it because I feel there’s no other way forward. We can’t keep sitting in our houses.’
The PM said: ‘You have seen Lyn take it, you have seen people take the vaccine this morning in large numbers. There’s nothing to be nervous about. To all those who are scared – don’t be.’
Day one saw around 5,000 people vaccinated, including the elderly, care home staff and NHS workers. An initial 800,000 doses are being rolled out in the coming days and Health Secretary Matt Hancock has promised millions more before Christmas.
NHS bosses were last night told that they would received either 1.2 million or 1.6 million doses of the breakthrough Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine next week, with the remainder of an initial four million arriving the week after.
Writing in the Times Red Box, NHS England medical director Stephen Powis said GP surgeries would ‘join up’ across the country to support hospitals in the delivery of the jab, followed by larger vaccine hubs in key locations.
Hospitals have been told they will be expected to use a minimum of one box of vaccine – 975 doses – during the first week, suggesting a total of almost 70,000.
Designated family doctors have been asked to operate from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, calling patients in for appointments by phone, message and letter.
Further stocks are due to arrive next week, before being checked and distributed to hospitals and surgeries across the UK from a secret storage facility.
Mr Hancock said he hoped ‘several million’ vulnerable people will have been given the jab by Christmas, paving the way for the easing of coronavirus restrictions by spring. Professor Stephen Powis, medical director of NHS England, hailed yesterday as a turning point for the pandemic.
‘This is the way out of it, the beginning of the end,’ he added. ‘It’s not going to happen tomorrow, it’s not going to happen next week or next month. We still need to socially distance, we need to follow all those restrictions in place.
‘But, in 2021, vaccination programmes will mean we can get back to normality.’
NHS England’s chief executive Simon Stevens said: ‘Less than a year after the first case of this new disease was diagnosed, the NHS has now delivered the first clinically approved Covid-19 vaccination – that is a remarkable achievement.’
Sir Simon also thanked all the scientists, health workers and volunteers who helped with the breakthrough.
US regulators last night confirmed that the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine was strongly protective against Covid-19.
The Food and Drug Administration is expected to give the jab the green light within days, paving the way for thousands of Americans to join Britain’s vaccination efforts.
Coronavirus was involved in a quarter of deaths recorded in the final week of November, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The number of fatalities in England and Wales fell for the first time in more than two months as the lockdown drew toward an end.
Despite the fall in overall deaths, Covid fatalities rose and more people died than has been typical for the same time of the year.
There were 12,456 deaths in the week that ended on November 27 – 79 fewer than in the previous week.
Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of the NHS, watches as a nurse administers the first of two Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine jabs to Frank Naderer, 82, at Guy’s Hospital in London
A member of staff takes a tray containing phials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine out of a fridge as 100 hospitals and NHS sites begin the rollout of the vaccine
Michael Tibbs, 99, receiving COVID vaccine from Liz Rix, Chief Nurse at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth this morning
A huge team of Doctors and Nurses are ready to start vaccinating the Gwent population in South Wales. 300 people will receive the vaccine at a sports centre in Cwmbran
Covid-19 vaccination record card and ‘I’ve had my covid vaccination’ stickers at the Royal Victoria Infirmary. Some are concerned about being told to carry the card at all times
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PFIZER’S COVID VACCINE
Britain yesterday began mass vaccination of the public with Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid vaccine, bringing the ‘end in sight’ to pandemic lockdown rules.
Here, MailOnline answers all the questions about the jab, including who will get it first, how much it costs and where people will be vaccinated.
What could the logistical challenges of delivering it be?
Both the Prime Minister
The problems stem from the fact the vaccine must be kept in long-term storage at -70C.
To keep doses at this ultra-low temperature, they need to be packaged with dry ice and placed in a special transport box the size of a suitcase which hold 5,000 doses.
These containers can prevent the vaccines from spoiling for 10 days if they remain unopened.
Once the batches arrive at vaccination hubs, they can be stored in standard medical fridges at between 2°C and 8°C for up to five days.
Or they can be kept in their shipping boxes for up to 30 days if the containers are topped up with dry ice at least once a week.
Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething said the logistical issues meant ‘in practical terms at this stage that we cannot deliver this vaccine to care homes’
The sticking point for delivering the jab to places like care homes may be that BioNTech says that the vaccine can only be kept at between 2°C and 8°C for six hours in transit without going off.
Because the Pfizer suitcases hold 5,000 vaccine doses, smaller quantities would have to be removed from the dry ice suitcases for transport to care homes.
But once they are in transit the doses could perish after six hours. It’s unclear exactly why this is the case.
Who is top of the list to get a coronavirus vaccine?
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has examined data on who suffers the worst outcomes from coronavirus and who is at highest risk of death.
The JCVI’s guidance says the order of priority should be the below.
1. Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
2. All those who are 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
3. All those who are 75 years of age and over
4. All those who are 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals, excluding pregnant women and those under 18 years of age
5. All those who are 65 years of age and over
6. Adults aged 18 to 65 years in an at-risk group, such as the morbidly obese
7. All those aged 60 and over
8. All those aged 55 and over
9. All those aged 50 and over
However, because of the aforementioned logistical problems, care homes cannot receive the vaccines straight away, so elderly NHS patients, care workers and NHS staff are receiving the first doses.
Where will people get the vaccine, and who will be administering it?
Work was going on behind the scenes to ensure that NHS staff were ready to start delivering vaccines to the most vulnerable from the start of December.
Vaccinations yesterday started in 70 NHS hospitals and the operation will be scaled up in the coming days and weeks.
Nightingale Hospitals and sports stadiums have been prepared as sites for mass vaccination clinics, while GPs and pharmacists will also be involved in the mammoth Army-backed operation to deliver the jab.
New regulations allowing more healthcare workers — and NHS volunteers — to administer flu and potential Covid-19 vaccines have also been introduced by the Government. They will be supervised by a healthcare professional.
NHS England stated that GP practices offering vaccines must be able to operate from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week including bank holidays when required for reasons such as needing to use up supplies of a vaccine without wasting any.
A letter sent to all practices suggests that it may be necessary for some staff to vaccinate patients on Christmas Day. Vaccination sites are expected to be able to deliver at least around 1,000 jabs per week. The contract to vaccinate begins next Tuesday and GPs will be paid £25.16 for every two jabs they administer.
Volunteers without medical training can put themselves forward through the GoodSAM app to give injections working with St John Ambulance. The role description states: ‘Volunteer vaccinators will be trained to deliver a vaccination to a patient. They will also be ready to act if a patient has an adverse reaction.’
People are also being sought to act as vaccination care volunteers. They will help patients get to the right place for their jab and be on hand to provide first aid if anyone becomes unwell.
Volunteer patient advocates, the third type of helper, will ‘concentrate on the welfare of patients through their experience’.
How many doses of the Pfizer vaccine has the UK bought?
The UK has secured 40million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, with 10million due in the UK by the end of the year. 800,000 doses are already in the country and ready to be used.
Patients need two doses, meaning Number 10 has only secured enough doses for around a third of Britain.
However, it is likely other vaccines, including one from Oxford University that the UK has bought 100million doses of, will be approved in the coming weeks and months.
How long does it protect you for?
Regulators yesterday said there was evidence of ‘partial immunity’ just seven days after the first dose, offering a glimmer of hope that the roll-out beginning next week may have an effect before Christmas.
But they insisted the best immunity comes seven days after the second dose, which is given three weeks after the first.
It remains a mystery as to how long immunity against Covid lasts for, with top scientists warning that people may need to be vaccinated against the disease every winter, like the flu.
What type of vaccine is this?
The jab is known as a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine.
Conventional vaccines are produced using weakened forms of the virus, but mRNAs use only the virus’s genetic code.
An mRNA vaccine is injected into the body where it enters cells and tells them to create antigens. These antigens are recognised by the immune system and prepare it to fight coronavirus.
What are the advantages of this type of vaccine?
No actual virus is needed to create an mRNA vaccine. This means the rate at which it can be produced is dramatically accelerated. As a result, mRNA vaccines have been hailed as potentially offering a rapid solution to new outbreaks of infectious diseases.
In theory, they can also be modified reasonably quickly if, for example, a virus develops mutations and begins to change. mRNA vaccines are also cheaper to produce than traditional vaccines, although both will play an important role in tackling Covid-19.
Where is the vaccine made?
Pfizer’s jab is being manufactured at the firm’s plant in Belgium, as well as separate sites in the US.
BioNTech — the other drug company involved in the vaccine — has two production facilities in Germany that are expected to start churning out doses in the New Year.
Can the vaccine be transported in a fridge?
Yes, although the vaccine should be kept at -70°C to ensure its long-term preservation, it can be transported by car or van if refrigerated between 2°C and 8°C.
According to the latest data from BioNTech, the company that owns the vaccine, it is only safe to use within six hours of being defrosted if transported in a fridge.
Researchers say this would allow administration of the vaccine to high-risk populations who may be unable to visit vaccination centres, such as care home residents. However, it also says that the vaccine remains stable and viable for up to five days if kept in a stationary fridge — like in a GP surgery – at 2-8°C.
The only difference between the two scenarios is that one involves being chilled and transported, while the other is not moved while being cooled.
Why this difference shortens the vaccine’s shelf-life is currently unexplained.
Speaking at a virtual press conference, the vaccine’s developers hinted the restrictions would be eased as more data was gathered, indicating the limits are currently overly-cautious to ensure the vaccine reaches society’s most vulnerable people with no drop-off in its efficacy.
Are they safe?
All vaccines undergo rigorous testing and have oversight from experienced regulators.
Some believe mRNA vaccines are safer for the patient as they do not rely on any element of the virus being injected into the body. mRNA vaccines have been tried and tested in the lab and on animals before moving to human studies.
The human trials of mRNA vaccines – involving tens of thousands of people worldwide – have been going on since early 2020 to show whether they are safe and effective.
Pfizer will continue to collect safety and long-term outcomes data from participants for two years.
Can you get the Covid vaccine privately?
The Queen and the rest of the Royal Family will not be able to jump the queue for a Covid-19 vaccine and even Boris Johnson will have to wait his turn, it was revealed last month.
No one will be given ‘special treatment’ when the country launches its mass-immunisation drive, according to Government sources.
Even rich companies won’t be able to skip the line, despite fears wealthy corporations would snap up vaccines directly to get their staff back to work and make up for the money haemorrhaged during lockdown.
Could employers force staff to get a vaccine?
It is ‘highly unlikely’ private employers could force staff to get a Covid jab when one finally becomes available, according to lawyers.
Although most of Britain will need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity and stop the disease spreading, a jab can’t be given without people’s consent.
Lawyers at the global firm Morgan Lewis said it was not likely that firms in the UK could start enforcing vaccination.
They said: ‘A vaccine could only be lawfully administered provided that the individual consented to such treatment. It is highly doubtful an employee could be described as consenting to treatment under any degree of compulsion by their employer.’
Will I get a vaccine passport if I get the jab?
Immunity passports have been touted as the key for getting swathes of society back to normal life, and allowing millions to evade restrictions. This is because they would indicate someone is protected against the virus, and is able to fight it off without getting severely ill or dying.
Bars, cinemas and football stadiums could turn away Britons who have not been vaccinated against coronavirus, the UK’s vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi suggested.
But ministers have since denied Britons will need ‘immunity certificates’ to go to the pub. Michael Gove was asked yesterday during a round of interviews whether people could need to prove they had been given coronavirus vaccines to enter bars and restaurants. He replied flatly: ‘No.’
Pressed on whether they could be required at theatres or sports centres, he said: ‘No I don’t think so, no.’
Mr Hancock said that a vaccine passport ‘isn’t part of our plan’. He told Sky News: ‘While we know that this vaccine protects you from getting ill with Covid – we don’t yet know how much it stops you transmitting Covid until we roll it out broadly.’
Don’t vaccines take a long time to produce?
In the past it has taken years, sometimes decades, to produce a vaccine.
Traditionally, vaccine development includes various processes, including design and development stages followed by clinical trials – which in themselves need approval before they even begin.
But in the trials for a Covid-19 vaccine, things look slightly different. A process which usually takes years has been condensed to months.
While the early design and development stages look similar, the clinical trial phases overlap, instead of taking place sequentially.
And pharmaceutical firms have begun manufacturing before final approval has been granted – taking on the risk that they may be forced to scrap their work.
The new way of working means that regulators around the world can start to look at scientific data earlier than they traditionally would do.
Aren’t there other vaccines?
Yes, recent data from the Oxford/AstraZeneca, and Moderna vaccine trials suggests their candidates also have high efficacy.
Oxford data indicates the vaccine has 62 per cent efficacy when one full dose is given followed by another full dose.
But when people were given a half dose followed by a full dose at least a month later, its efficacy rose to 90 per cent, according to data. But the breakthrough results from trials of Oxford University’s vaccine were based on ‘shaky science’, experts have warned.
The combined analysis from both dosing regimes resulted in an average efficacy of 70.4 per cent.
Final results from the trials of Moderna’s vaccine suggest it has 94.1 per cent efficacy, and 100 per cent efficacy against severe Covid-19.
Nobody who was vaccinated with the vaccine known as mRNA-1273 developed severe coronavirus.
A graph showing vaccine orders made by the EU, US, Canada, UK, Japan and Australia
Which jab is best?
The early contenders all have high efficacy rates, but researchers say it is difficult to make direct comparisons because it is not yet known exactly what everyone is measuring in the trials.
Analysis shows the Pfizer vaccine can prevent 95 per cent of people from getting Covid-19, including 94 per cent in older age groups.
A technician inspects vials of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine candidate BNT162b2 at a Pfizer manufacturing site in manufacturing site in St. Louis, Missouri
The vaccine has been tested on 43,500 people in six countries and no safety concerns were raised. Approval means the UK can begin rolling out the vaccine to those most in need, including frontline NHS workers.
How many doses of other jabs has the UK secured?
The UK has secured access to 100million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine, which is almost enough for most of the population.
It also belatedly struck a deals for seven million doses of the jab on offer from Moderna in the US.
The deals for 357million doses of seven different vaccines cover four different classes: adenoviral vaccines, mRNA vaccines, inactivated whole virus vaccines and protein adjuvant vaccines.
How much does Pfizer’s vaccine cost?
Pfizer/BioNTech is making its vaccine available not-for-profit.
According to reports, the Moderna vaccine could cost about 38 dollars (£28) per dose and the Pfizer candidate could cost around 20 dollars (£15).
Researchers suggest the Oxford vaccine could be relatively cheap to produce, with some reports indicating it could be about £3 per dose.
AstraZeneca said it will not sell it for a profit, so it can be available to all countries.
However, the details of the deals made by the UK Government have not been made public.
What is the usual process for developing a vaccine?
Traditionally vaccine development takes several years and includes various processes, including design and development stages followed by clinical trials – which in themselves need approval before they even begin.
The trials take place in three sequential stages – also known as phases. The research will show whether a vaccine generates antibodies but also protects people from disease. They will also identify any safety issues.
Once the trials are complete, the information gathered by researchers is sent to regulators for review. This is thoroughly analysed by clinicians and scientists before being approved for widespread use. Then, after approval from regulators, people can start to receive the vaccine.
Is this different because of the pandemic?
The process looks slightly different in the trials for a Covid vaccine.
While the early design and development stages look similar, the clinical trial phases have overlapped – instead of taking place sequentially.
But won’t that mean that safety is compromised?
Even though some phases of the clinical trial process have run in parallel rather than one after another, the safety checks have still been the same as they would for any new medicine.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has adopted the phrase ‘safety is our watchword’.
Regulators have said they will ‘rigorously assess’ the data and evidence submitted on the vaccine’s safety, quality and effectiveness.
And, in most clinical trials, any safety issues are usually identified in the first two to three months – a period which has already lapsed for most vaccine front-runners.
How are regulators acting so quickly?
Regulators have been carrying out ‘rolling reviews’, which means that instead of going through reams of information at the conclusion of the trials, they have been given access to the data as the scientists work.
A rolling review of the vaccine data started several months ago.
This means regulators can start to look at scientific data earlier than they traditionally would do, which in turn means the approval process can be sped up. Regulators sometimes have thousands of pages of information to go over with a fine-tooth comb – which understandably takes time.
Once all the data available on the vaccine is submitted, MHRA experts will carefully and scientifically review the safety, quality and effectiveness data – how it protects people from Covid-19 and the level of protection it provides.
After this has been done, advice is sought from the Government’s independent advisory body, the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM).
What does ‘approved for use’ mean?
For a medicine to be used in the UK it has to be granted a licence. This means that it has been through all the rigorous safety and efficacy checks and regulators are confident in the findings of the clinical trials.
By reviewing the data as they become available, the MHRA can reach its opinion sooner on whether or not the medicine or vaccine should be licensed without compromising the thoroughness of their review.
So what data would the regulator have looked at?
The information provided to the MHRA will have included what the vaccine contains, how it works in the body, how well it works and its side-effects, and who it is meant to be used for.
This data must include the results of all animal studies and clinical trials in humans, manufacturing and quality controls, consistency in batch production, and testing of the final product specification.
The factories where the vaccines are made are also inspected before a licence can be granted to make sure that the product supplied will be of the same consistent high standard.
Husband and wife Ugur Sahin and Oezlem Tuereci are behind the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine that could change the world
Regulators look at stacks of data before approving any vaccines (stock)
What is the difference between the MHRA and the CHM?
The MHRA is the British regulator of medicines and medical devices, ensuring their safety, quality and effectiveness.
The CHM advises ministers on medicinal products. It is made up of an independent group of advisers responsible for advising on the need for, and content of, risk management plans for new medicines.
It also advises officials on the impact of new safety issues on the balance of risks and benefits of licensed medicines.
The CHM also offer advice on ‘applications for both national and European marketing authorisations’.
Haven’t pharmaceutical companies already started making vaccines?
Yes. Usually large-scale production and distribution begins only after regulatory approval. But in the case of Covid-19 vaccines, pharmaceutical firms have begun manufacturing before final approval had been granted – taking on the risk that they may be forced to scrap their work.
‘If I can do it, so can you’: Stirring message from ‘Super Gran’ aged 90 who’s first to receive vaccine
By Andy Dolan and Claire Duffin for the Daily Mail
The grandmother aged 90 who became the first person to receive the covid vaccine jumped at the chance, her grandson said yesterday.
Conor Maton said despite being just 4ft 10in, Margaret Keenan was a ‘larger than life’ character who wanted to do what she could to help get the country back on track.
And after she had the jab, Mrs Keenan declared: ‘If I can have it at 90 then you can have it too.’
Grandmother Margaret Keenan, aged 90, who became the first person to receive the covid vaccine jumped at the chance, her grandson said yesterday
Forsooth! William Shakespeare is second in the queue
William Shakespeare became the second person to receive the covid vaccine yesterday.
The 81-year-old former Rolls-Royce worker from Coventry – believed to be a descendant of the Bard – said he was pleased to be given the ‘groundbreaking’ jab.
He was filmed receiving it at University Hospital in Coventry yesterday morning – prompting a deluge on social media of Shakespeare puns.
William Shakespeare, 81, from Coventry, became the second person to receive the covid vaccine yesterday
His niece Emily Shakespeare said her ‘lovely uncle’ was a ‘worthy recipient’ of the vaccine.
She said the family were ’86 per cent sure’ he was a descendant of England’s greatest playwright, who was born in nearby Stratford-upon-Avon.
Mr Shakespeare had been admitted to the hospital’s frailty ward after falling ill at home.
The father of two and grandfather praised his ‘wonderful’ wife Joy, who he hoped to be reunited with soon.
He appeared relaxed as he received the vaccine in front of the media. Asked if it hurt he replied simply: ‘No.’
He added: ‘It’s groundbreaking I think. It could make the difference to our lives from now on couldn’t it? I’m not nervous at all.
‘A bit apprehensive about what the side-effects could be but there is a small chance of that so I am just pleased there is an advancement for the future of everyone else.’
Asked if he knew when his wife might be receiving the vaccine, he said: ‘No news on that, hopefully soon.
‘My wife is absolutely wonderful – she’s so caring, she’s so generous. She is the best partner I could ever have.’
Mr Maton, 29, said Strictly Come Dancing fan Mrs Keenan was much younger than her years and was working in a jewellers until six years ago before falling ill – not with Covid – and being admitted to hospital a few days ago.
After recovering well, Mrs Keenan, who is due to celebrate her 91st birthday next week, received the vaccine from nurse May Parsons at University Hospital in Coventry at 6.31am yesterday.
Mail volunteer’s shot in the arm
A pensioner who answered the Daily Mail’s call for volunteers as part of our Hospital Helpforce campaign received the vaccine at the same hospital.
Doreen McKeown, 81, from Hutton in Lancashire, signed up to help at the Royal Preston Hospital, last year and has worked at the hospital trust’s endoscopy unit.
The former civil servant and police civilian worker was in line at 7.20am yeterday and said: ‘It was marvellous and a momentous occasion.
Doreen McKeown, 81, received the vaccine at the Royal Preston Hospital
‘Everything went according to plan so far as I can tell.
‘It is a miracle that things have happened really quickly. We never thought it would happen until next year.’
Known to family and friends as Maggie, Mrs Keenan said: ‘I feel so privileged to be the first person vaccinated against Covid-19.
‘It’s the best early birthday present I could wish for because it means I can finally look forward to spending time with my family and friends in the new year after being on my own for most of the year.’
She added: ‘I can’t thank May and the NHS staff enough, and my advice to anyone offered the vaccine is to take it.’
Mrs Keenan had been isolating since March. Mr Maton said having the jab means she can now celebrate her birthday with those in her bubble and see her family at Christmas.
Mr Maton, who lives around the corner from his grandmother in Coventry, said: ‘We’re really proud of her.
The fact that she’s 90 years old – 91 next week – will hopefully give other people confidence to have the jab.
‘It sums her up because she’s a wonderful woman. She’s always been Super Gran to us.’
Her proud son Philip Keenan, an electronics expert at Cambridge University, described her as a ‘little person with a heart of gold’.
Mr Keenan, 61, said: ‘She is determined to live beyond 100 and has done everything possible to protect herself.
‘She’s a very sociable person and it has been hard for her to lose that contact with people during the pandemic.
She has bubbled with my sister and her family in Coventry, but otherwise mum has not left her house since March, up until her admission to hospital.’
Mrs Keenan, who was widowed in 2007, will receive a booster jab in 21 days’ time to ensure she has the best chance of being protected against the virus.
NHS nurse Mrs Parsons said it was a ‘huge honour’ to be the first person in the country to deliver a Covid-19 jab to a patient.
‘The last few months have been tough for all of us working in the NHS, but now it feels like there is light at the end of the tunnel,’ she added.
Ex-doctor’s praise for NHS heroes
An 87-year-old grandfather had the jab and said it was his duty to ‘do whatever I can to help’.
Dr Hari Shukla, a former GP and race relations campaigner, heaped praise on the NHS as he and his wife Ranjan, 84, were given the jab at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.
The couple, who have four children and nine grandchildren, thanked those who have worked on the vaccine.
Dr Shukla said: ‘I don’t take this for granted because hundreds of people have worked for this vaccine day and night to make sure we got the vaccines in good time, so the lives of people can be saved.’
Dr Hari Shukla, a former GP and race relations campaigner, heaped praise on the NHS as he and his wife Ranjan, 84, were given the jab
… and Boris is there to see it done
Lyn Wheeler, 81, had her jab at Guy’s Hospital in London – and was applauded by the Prime Minister.
Boris Johnson asked her how it had been, and the pensioner from Bromley, south-east London, replied: ‘It’s all for Britain.’
She also told him : ‘I’m going for it because I feel there’s no other way forward, we can’t keep sitting in our houses.’