35,000 doses of Covid vaccine expected 'as soon as possible', Govt says
The Gibraltar Government has announced it is expecting 35,000 doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine 'as soon as possible', with those aged over 80 years and frontline staff to be offered the vaccine first.
This comes as the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech has been given regulatory approval of use in the UK.
In a press statement, No6 Convent Place said it was delighted by the news of the vaccines approval.
"After months of rigorous testing, it has been authorised for emergency use by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority, who have concluded that it meets strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness," the statement said.
"The vaccine has been shown to be 95% effective in its final trials."
The Government added GHA has made arrangements with NHS UK for the vaccine to be supplied to Gibraltar as soon as possible.
"It has not yet been confirmed when this will be, but all efforts are being undertaken to ensure that the vaccine is available in Gibraltar as soon as possible."
"Gibraltar is expected to receive at least 35,000 doses of the vaccine, which will first be made available to those over 80 years of age and those social and healthcare staff in ERS/Care Agency/ADA looking after them."
Specialised fridges have been procured to store the vaccine at the required -70 degrees celcius and are expected to arrive in Gibraltar by the end of this week.
Director of Public Health, Dr Sohail Bhatti, welcomed the news and stressed the need for people to be immunised.
"This is excellent news indeed, and I urge everyone to take up the opportunity to be vaccinated against Covid-19 at the earliest possible opportunity," Dr Bhatti said.
The Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, added this marked the first real step towards returning to a more normal life and urged the public to continue to adhere to public health guidelines such as wearing masks.
"There is no better way to round off 2020 than with this extremely uplifting news, for which we have all been hoping for a long time now," Mr Picardo said.
"My sincere thanks go out on behalf of all the people of Gibraltar to all scientists and regulators involved
in preparing this vital vaccine for rollout."
"The vaccine is the first real step towards getting back to a more normal life and being reunited with our loved ones, not forgetting the very important lessons that this terrible pandemic has taught us. But with this fantastic news we must not yet let down our guard."
"The virus is still out there and a vaccine is not a cure. Please, continue to protect yourself, your loved ones, our GHA and our economy. Wash your hands, wear a mask where you have to and keep a safe distance from others."