WASHINGTON: Drug giant Pfizer has completed the manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccine;s several hundred thousand doses at its plant in Belgium. The vaccine is a hope for ending the prolonged COVID-19 that has killed millions of people worldwide. The news agencies have reported that the doses are being stockpiled ready to be rolled out worldwide if clinical trials are a success, and regulators believe it to be safe and effective. The Pfizer hopes to make 100 million doses available this year, of which 40 million are destined for the UK a figure that will be dwarfed by the 1.3 billion jabs the company aims to manufacture in 2021. The authorities have revealed that any people who will intake the vaccine will have to take two doses. When the good news broke out, Pfizer UK boss Ben Osborn says, “It was great to see the first vial coming off the manufacturing line”. He added, “It just brought a tremendous smile to my face to see all of this work actually result in a product”. Pfizer, which is working with Germany’s BioNTech, is currently running a trial on 44,000 people.
Last week it was revealed that the company is planning to get emergency U.S approval of its vaccine in November. Osborn has also commented on the making of vaccine, saying that Pfizer’s laboratory in Sandwich, Kent, has discovered drugs that could provide a potential cure for Covid-19. The UK’s deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van-Tam, reportedly told MPs last week that stage three trials of the vaccine created at Oxford University, which is being produced by Astra Zeneca, could be rolled-out in December.
The Deputy Chief medical officer said, “We aren’t light years away from it. It isn’t a totally unrealistic suggestion that we could deploy a vaccine soon after Christmas”. He added, “That would have a significant impact on hospital admissions and deaths”. The reports state that, Thousands of NHS staff is to undergo training to administer a vaccine before the end of the year.
The news came out as UK has decided to put sticker restrictions in the country after the COVID-19 cases surged. The govenrmet is deciding to impose “Tier 3 lockdown”. Boris Johnson is under growing pressure from furious Tory grandees to set out a “clear end date” for local lockdowns. Senior Conservative Party figures have warned the Prime Minister he must announce a ‘strategy for returning life to normal’ as they said an indefinite cycle of localised shutdowns is not acceptable. The lockdowns would shatter the economy.
Lockdown critics are on red alert after Sir Patrick Vallance, the Chief Scientific Adviser, said last week that the draconian Tier Three measures will not be enough to get the R rate below the key number of 1. He added that the “baseline” measures set out in the top tier of restrictions, which include shutting pubs and banning household mixing indoors, ‘almost certainly aren’t enough’ to get the virus back under control.
It is being expected that the stricter rules being imposed by the Government is likely to spark an angry Tory backlash. Many Tory MPs and peers believe the current blueprint of local lockdowns is not sustainable in the longer term. In addition, Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, said it was ‘pointless’ to rely on lockdowns to suppress on the virus.
Another anti-COVID lockdown, Lord Lamont of Lerwick, the former chancellor, said repeatedly imposing lockdowns and then lifting them was “deeply damaging to business and is not really a strategy.” In response to these statements Government spokesman said, “We keep all measures under review and we don’t want restrictions to be in place any longer than is necessary, but where the virus is spreading we must take targeted action in order to save lives, protect the NHS, keep children at school and shelter the economy”. On the other hand, statistics published by Manchester City Council for the period between October 4-10 show that around 2,484 people with a newly confirmed diagnosis of Covid-19, giving an infection rate of 449.3 per 100,000 people. In the previous seven day period, there were 3,224 people with a newly confirmed diagnosis, giving an infection rate of 583.2 per 100,000. On October 12 there was an average of 1,563 new cases confirmed per day over the preceding seven days in the region. But by Thursday, October 15 the average had dropped to 1,076 new cases confirmed per day.