Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar is delighted at the news that the vaccine against COVID-19 developed by Pfizer and BioNTech has been given regulatory approval of use in the United Kingdom.
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 vaccine has been shown to be 95% effective in its final trials.
The GHA has already 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. These are expected to arrive in Gibraltar by the end of this week.
Director of Public Health, Dr Sohail Bhatti, said: ‘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.’
The Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo, said: ‘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. 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.’