Marlon M., Staff Writer

     England has become the first western nation to authorize a COVID-19 vaccine, the vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. BioNTech has shipped 800,000 doses to Britain, which are going to be distributed among 50 British hospitals. However, this is just the beginning. Britain has already pre-ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine from Pfizer and 315 million doses of competing vaccines from other companies, spreading its bets to assure it can inoculate the country’s 67 million people. 

     Pfizer claims that their late-stage clinical trials reveal that their vaccine has a 95 percent effectiveness rate. Furthermore, the vaccine has proven to be highly effective among older adults, who are more vulnerable to developing severe COVID-19 symptoms. 

     However, the downside is that their doses need to be kept at North Pole temperatures, and requires two shots, taken 21 days apart. This makes it harder not only to distribute the vaccine but for people to get the necessary effects. Since Pfizer said it expects to be able to produce up to 50 million doses this year, about 25 million people worldwide could begin to vaccinate before 2021. The first to get these doses in Britain will be Doctors and Nurses, then people 80 and over with prescheduled appointments. The first person to get vaccinated in Britain is 90-year-old Margaret Keenan, who turns 91 next week. She received the injection at 06:31 GMT, saying it was the “best early birthday present”.

     Around half of the 50 million doses Pfizer is going to produce will go to the US, and this is no surprise since the US alone bought 100 million doses in advance from Pfizer. The European Union bought double that amount! 

     There is much controversy over the speed with which UK regulators approved the vaccine, but representatives say that the process had been “incredibly robust.” In fact, vaccinations are set to begin in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland in the next week. And besides, when we have Russia already approving their Sputnik V vaccine even before crucial Phase 3 trials, we can’t really complain about Britain, can we?

     Needless to say, these are huge steps in finally controlling the virus that has controlled us for the past 8 months. Who knows, it is probably in the near future that we finally take the vaccine, but until then, stay inside, wash your hands, and most importantly, don’t hog the toilet paper.