With today’s wonderful news that the new Pfizer/BioNTech has been judged safe for use against Covid-19 from next week we wanted to add our voice to the chorus of congratulations to the team behind it.
Of course at Meningitis Now we’re huge supporters of vaccines – we know they offer the only protection against a range of diseases, including of course meningitis. When our founder Steve Dayman started the charity nearly 35 years ago he was told he would see no meningitis vaccines in his lifetime. We now have five, which together have saved millions of lives and prevented millions of families having to go through the misery and devastation that meningitis inflicts.
Some of these have taken years to develop and introduce to our world-beating vaccination programme in the UK. And we continue to fund research to help come up with even more effective vaccines. The work is never completed.
But the speed with which the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been produced and declared safe to use – it took just ten months rather than the more usual ten years - shows what can be achieved when the resources are available and the will to succeed are there. It offers a real ray of hope that a return to what we understand as ‘normal’ life is not so far away – perhaps by late next spring or summer.
Mass vaccination programme
Today’s decision by the regulator MHRA that the new vaccine is safe paves the way for a mass vaccination programme to get underway starting as early as next week and throughout December. The elderly and care home staff top the priority list, followed by the over 80s and health and care staff.
But even with this cause for celebration, just a note of caution too. Don’t drop your Covid guard yet – remain vigilant and follow the rules to stop the virus spreading. So, social distancing and self-isolation where required, and don’t lose that face mask or stop that hand washing.
And, make sure you keep up to date with your meningitis vaccines too – that’s equally important.