Health teams ready to roll out covid vaccine in South Tyneside from December
The UK has already pre-ordered millions of doses of the most promising potential treatments for coronavirus, before trials on their effectiveness and safety had even finished.
But care chiefs have insisted they will be ready to go whenever they are given the green light.
“I’m quite involved with this at a [regional] and national level and we’ve agreed to use our flu governance structure to oversee the rollout of the vaccine,” said Neil O’Brien, chief officer at South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
“There is a lot of understandable media attention and the vaccines currently on the stocks are still awaiting formal approval.
“But the NHS will be ready to vaccinate from December 1.
“That’s not to say we will have [an approved] vaccine then, but we will be ready to vaccinate from that date [when we do have one].”
O’Brien was speaking at a meeting of South Tyneside CCG’s governing body on Thursday, November 26, which was held by video conference and broadcast via YouTube.
The Government has ordered 100 million doses of a vaccine developed by Oxford University, which is also thought to be the cheapest and easiest to store and transport of other jabs being trialled.
According to a report for the CCG, South Tyneside’s ‘tried and tested’ processes already in place to deliver flu vaccines will be used to rollout the COVID treatment.
The UK Government has announced it has asked the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to assess the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.
This comes a week after the regulator was also asked to assess the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, of which the government has ordered 40 million doses.
The referral to the MHRA "marks a significant first step” in the process of getting the vaccine "approved for deployment", said the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
Although a vaccine is still yet to be approved by the MHRA, it is thought that the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine could be rolled out within weeks if approved.