How do you vaccinate more than 7 billion people against COVID-19? That’s the challenge currently facing public health officials around the world.
The UK is the only country in Europe currently administering a vaccine that is internationally-recognised for public use.
But other nations are also working on strategies for when their own authorities give the green light — not least deciding who will be first in line.
UK administers first vaccines to the over 80s and care home staff
The UK is the first country in the world to administer a vaccine against COVID-19 and it was 90-year-old Margaret Keenan who made history with that dose.
The grandmother, originally from Enniskillen in Northern Ireland, was applauded by staff at Coventry Hospital after receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech formula on December 8.
She marked the start of a global programme that has gained momentum in the weeks since.
As part of the UK’s strategy, the first 800,000 vaccines have been prioritised for the over-80s, who are either in hospital already or have an outpatient appointment booked.
Care home staff are also at the front of the queue.
Russia prioritises high-risk workers for Sputnik V
Moscow began administering its vaccine to citizens three days before Margaret Keenan received her jab, although the Russian version has not yet been internationally approved.
Naming it Sputnik V, the Russians raised eyebrows when they claimed it was ready back in August. This is due to concerns among scientists about the brief testing time of the vaccine and the small number of volunteers who received it.
As a result, Sputnik V is still in the middle of being trialled and is only being given to people under 60 years old who have no chronic conditions.
Priority is also being given to those in careers with a high risk of contracting the disease such as health, education and social work.
Germany looking for vaccine authorisation in time for Christmas
Germany is hoping to start vaccinating citizens before the end of 2020, which means an authorisation will be needed before Christmas.
Health Minister Jens Spahn said this at a press conference on Tuesday, which marked the government’s increasing impatience regarding the amount of time it is taking for European health authorities to issue an approval.
Similar agitation has been heard from Poland and Hungary.
At present, it’s not clear whether the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will reach the Christmas deadline hoped-for by Germany. However, the latest date for approval has been moved forward from December 29 to December 21.