On Wednesday the United Kingdom became the first country in the world to approve the coronavirus vaccine, the Pfizer/BioNTech which is made in the United States and Belgium.
The approval of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine which offers up to 95% protection against Covid-19 illness paves way for mass vaccination which is expected to beginning from the UK in a few days’ time.
According to the BBC, the first dozes of the vaccine will be administered to special interest groups including elderly people, those in care homes and health workers.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has taken only 10 months to be approved after going through the same steps which usually take almost a decade becoming the fastest vaccine to go from concept to reality.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnstone said “It’s the protection of vaccines that will ultimately allow us to reclaim our lives and get the economy moving again,” after learning of the vaccine’s approval.
The priority list
According to the current guidance of the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunizations, care home residents and staff, elderly people over 80 years, health and social care workers will be vaccinated first. Others likely to follow in a mass immunization exercise as more stocks become available next year include those over 50 and young people with pre-existing conditions.
Two injections of the vaccine are given, 21 days apart and the second dose works as an immunity booster.
What the vaccine means for Africa
If there is any part of the world that needed the Covid-19 vaccine, it should be Africa given the impact the pandemic has had on both health and economy on the continent and its vulnerability. So far, the continent has registered over 2.2 million Covid-19 cases and over 52,000 deaths according to figures from the Johns Hopkins University. Being the poorest continent on the planet, Covid-19 and its adverse effects is the last thing Africa needed to happen to it. With the approval of the first vaccine for the pandemic, the hopes of African people to overcome this huge sooner than later challenge will go high.
What does it mean for Uganda?
With over 21,000 cases and over 200 deaths of Covid-19 registered so far in Uganda, the country will warmly welcome the news of the approval of the first vaccine. The country’s economy has been hit hard by the pandemic with tourism, Uganda’s highest foreign exchanger the most affected due to restrictions in international travel and this means loss of huge amounts revenue for the country. Now the country is optimistic that popular safaris like gorilla trekking to see mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National National Park which fetches the highest tourism revenue may soon boom again.