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PM acknowledges ‘logistical challenges’ in delivering Pfizer vaccine to care homes




Prime minister Boris Johnson has acknowledged there are ‘logistical challenges’ to delivering the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine to care homes.

This comes after the Welsh Government released a statement this morning saying it ‘will not be possible’ to deliver the Pfizer Covid vaccine to care home residents in Wales due to practical constraints.

Speaking at PMQs today, Mr Johnson said: ‘It does need to be kept at minus 70 degrees Celsius, so there are logistical challenges to be overcome to get vulnerable people the access to the vaccine that they need.           

‘We are working on it with all four devolved administrations in order to ensure that the NHS across the country is able to distribute it as fast and as sensibly as possible to the most vulnerable groups.’

The Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius and can only sit in transit for up to six hours in refrigerated conditions (between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius). Once thawed, the vials can be stored for up to five days at refrigerated conditions.

Care England chief executive Professor Martin Green told Nursing in Practice: ‘I think it will be difficult for the Pfizer/Biotech vaccine to be used in care homes because of the difficulty of storage and the low temperatures required.

‘In light of this we need the Oxford vaccine to be approved as soon as possible and a vaccination programme put in place so that care home residents can be protected from COVID-19.’

This comes as the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is recommending that care home groups be among the first to receive Covid vaccinations.

The Pfizer vaccine was approved for UK use by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) this morning.

General practices will have to administer the Covid vaccine to care home residents and staff, and housebound patients through home visits, it was revealed last month.