Friday Five

Hoarding of Covid-19 vaccine, NHS long waits and ‘significant’ allergic reactions to Pfizer/BioNTech jab – this week’s Friday Five

Are rich countries hoarding Covid-19 vaccine from the world’s poor?

Most of the world’s poor will go without a coronavirus vaccine because rich countries are hoarding enough doses to immunise their populations three times over, an international watchdog has said. In the developed world, nations representing only 14% of the world’s population have already bought up more than half of the most promising vaccines. For example, Canada has bought enough vaccines to immunise its population five times over should all of them be approved and manufactured.

Read the full story in The Times.

Regulators warn people with ‘significant’ allergic reactions not to have Pfizer/BioNTech jab

As the biggest vaccination programme in the UK’s history got under way, UK regulators are now warning that people who have a history of “significant” allergic reactions should not currently receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. This comes after two NHS staff members developed “anaphylactoid reaction” symptoms shortly after being injected, but are now understood to be recovering.

Read the full story in Sky News.

NHS long waits 100 times higher than before

The number of patients in England waiting over a year for routine hospital care is now 100 times higher than before the pandemic, figures show. With nearly 163,000 out of the 4.4 million on the waiting list at the end of October waiting over 12 months for operations such as hip replacements. This is in contrast to the just 1,600 year-long waiters in February. The Royal College of Surgeons warned patients were being left in pain unable to carry on with day-to-day life, with the number of long waits now at its highest level since 2008.

Read the full story in BBC.

“I only see someone if I do my laundry”: students stuck on campus for Christmas

Many international students in the UK, as well as care leavers and those with families abroad, are set to face Christmas alone this year. Every year Msue Chiponda, an international student at Nottingham University, joins her extended family at a house they rent near Lake Malawi to celebrate Christmas together. But, thanks to the pandemic, she won’t be going this year. Instead, she is facing the holiday season alone in her studio bedroom without her loved ones.

Read the full story in The Guardian.


Quote of the week

England’s chief medical officer, Chris Witty, has warned of a disastrous resurgence in COVID-19 cases if the public stop adhering to the social distancing guidelines now that the mass vaccination programme has begun. In addressing a joint hearing of the Commons committees for science and technology and health and social care, Professor Witty had this to say:

“I want to be very clear. For the next three months we will not have sufficient protection. The idea we can suddenly stop now because the vaccine is here – that would be really premature, it’s like someone giving up a marathon race at mile 16. It would be absolutely the wrong thing to do.”

Read the full story in The Guardian.