All your questions about the coronavirus vaccines answered
- Credit: BioNTech SE 2020/PA Wire
There are now two Covid-19 vaccinations approved for use in the UK — here's how they're being rolled out and when you'll be able to get one.
What is the difference between the two?
The first to be approved in December was the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is administered in two doses given 21 days apart.
Stored at -70C the logistics of storing the vaccine is the main issue being faced by the healthcare service as there aren't many sites with the facilities to keep it at that temperature.
The vaccine is 95% effective and out of all the people vaccinated so far in Suffolk and north east Essex, only one person has had a reaction to the virus — however, this was thought to have been a panic attack rather than an anaphylactic reaction.
The Pfizer vaccination doses for the area are currently being stored at Colchester Hospital due to the facilities
The Oxford AstraZeneca vaccination was approved this morning and can be kept at a normal fridge temperature, rather than the extreme cold needed for the Pfizer jab.
There is a wait time of 12 weeks between the first and second dose of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, meaning more people will gain some immunity faster.
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How is it being rolled out in Suffolk?
Nearly 6,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been received by the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System and were administered the week before last.
There are three different types of facilities doing the jabs; primary care network hubs, eg doctors' surgeries, hospitals and vaccination centres such as Gainsborough Sport Centre.
The Swan Surgery in Bury, Woolpit Health Centre, Two Rivers Medical Centre and Ivry Street Medical Practice in Ipswich, Saint Helena Hospice in Clacton and Colchester Primary Care Centre are all primary care network hubs.
They have each been given just short of 2,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and began administering them on Tuesday, December 15.
Colchester Hospital, one of the hospital hubs, has administered 2,800 vaccines and has been focusing on care home residents, as well as some NHS frontline workers.
The second jab for the first tranche of people vaccinated in December will take place in the week starting January 4 and those people will reach peak immunity one week after that has been administered.
In the New Year, it is understood many more primary care network hubs will go live, including four in West Suffolk and nine in Ipswich and East Suffolk.
Ipswich and West Suffolk hospitals are also expected to go live as hospital hubs to administer vaccines, as well as vaccination centres.
When will I get it?
The NHS is prioritising the most vulnerable people to have the vaccine first.
Those aged 80 years old and above and with pre-existing health problems which could put them more at risk are the first to be vaccinated.
The government is also prioritising care home staff and residents, before immunising NHS frontline workers.
If you are young and have no pre-existing medical conditions then it is expected you'll be waiting until at least early summer or autumn.
What have the experts said?
A spokesperson from the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System said: "We understand people are anxious about getting the vaccine, but it will help if they trust us to contact them when we are ready.
"We will get round to everyone so please don't call up your surgery or hospital to ask.
"The system is starting to mobilise and it is a huge effort to get things going, however it is a good problem to have as we'd rather be dealing with the logistics of the vaccine roll-out, than have no vaccine at all.
"The smartest minds in the world have worked to get this vaccine made and it is building on years of knowledge we already have from dealing with other variants of Covid and seasonal flu."