Milestone for COVID-19 Vaccine

Here & Now


Want to get right to today's major covid nineteen development the uk's approval of a vaccine the first country to take that step clearing the way for vaccinations there soon. As in the us when a program starts here in the uk elderly residents of nursing homes and frontline healthcare workers will be the first to get the shots developed by pfizer and the german company biontech pfizer says eight hundred thousand doses are doing the uk in the coming days. The country has a population of sixty six million british prime minister boris johnson who survived his own serious case of covid. Nineteen spoke in the house of commons. Today i would like to pay tribute to thank all those who made this possible. It is the protection of vaccines that will ultimately allow us to reclaim our lives and get our economy moving again. Jason bourne is npr's global health and development correspondent so jason. You've been scanning the globe. Your thoughts on this milestone today absolutely. It's a big deal. This is the moment. We've all been waiting for right when vaccine starts to actually be available to the general public Supplies are gonna be limited in the beginning and we need to underscore that. This is a pfizer vaccine that we're talking about it's just one of the vaccines but it really is remarkable. How quickly they've managed to get this from scratch all the way to the approval stage and it's not just visor you've got these other ones that are in the works to but normally would take fifteen to twenty years to do this a year ago. We hadn't even heard of. Sarah sylvie two and here. They've done this in a matter of months. It's really it's hard under state. How important remarkable. This is using the real scientific name for covid nineteen. But what's your biggest concern as the uk starts to raw the vaccine as other countries watch. Yeah i mean there's gonna be issues. One is just the logistics. As i mentioned. This is the pfizer vaccine. So this is the one takes incredibly low temperature for storage at it's minus seventy centigrade needs at at certain points in time when it's when it's being stored and transported so logistically this is not going to be an easy task to get the vaccine all the different places it needs to get to get people vaccinated but it's doable but there could be some logistical challenges. Second is going to be concerned. That we're going from vaccinating. Tens of thousands of people during these trials to now. You're gonna start giving it to millions of people and that after some of these people get the shots. Some of them are going to have some medical issue. Maybe they were just about to have a heart attack it. That is going to happen when you start giving this to such a large pool of people in questions are gonna come up about. Was that an adverse reaction to to this vaccine might have nothing to do with the vaccine but these are the types of issues on that could lead some resistance stumbling blocks some questions about the vaccine in the months ahead and just look globally for us for a second which countries have managed to control infection rates. Well what lessons can we learn. Some of the european countries have done quite well. You look at france and spain over the last month. They've brought their second waves down significantly. Ireland also seems to have gotten fully passed. Its second peak. The numbers continue to remain really quite low in africa Places like chile had a big surge in june and then they brought it down to relatively low numbers and they have managed to avoid a second wave entirely. Like we've seen in some other places so it's really different in different parts of the world but there are definitely examples out there of places that have managed to do it successfully and keep their numbers either. Bring them down after a second peak or keep them low right and what about the people who have been to be kind stuttering Here in the us. We're seeing huge numbers of cases. Every day where are the other troublespots yet the us still continues to dominate this pandemic globally with one out of every four cases being in the us but after the us then at the moment it's india brazil. Italy and russia in that order in eight is interesting to sort of look at this You know eighty percent of both the cases and the deaths are in either the americas or in europe. It's really been these two regions that have borne the brunt of this. I'm an even this week. documents from the world health organization. Said he's very concerned about mexico and brazil and the rising numbers there so there are definitely places that are that are not doing so well we just have a few seconds here but i think i know the answer this question. Yes the vaccine is coming. It's coming faster to the uk but the virus still winning at this point isn't it unfortunately. Is this pandemic continues to grow. Even as we see it ebb and flow and certain places. The numbers continue to to come more and more each week and they come faster and faster so yes. The news about the vaccine is very important to actually slow the of the virus that we're seeing globally

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