A CITY GP has come forward to answer questions on the Covid-19 vaccine set to be offered from next week.

Dr Jason Seewoodhary, GP at Barbourne Health Centre in Worcester, has explained the benefits, risks and effectiveness of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine which will begin to be offered to the city.

When will vaccination start?

Vaccination will start from next Tuesday.

The UK has ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which is enough to vaccinate 20 million people. The first batch of 800,000 doses will arrive in the UK next week.

How will the vaccine be administered?

Vaccination involves administering two doses three weeks apart.

Who approved the vaccine?

The vaccine has met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

How effective is the vaccine?

The vaccine offers 95 per cent protection against Covid-19.

What are the side effects of the vaccine?

The most common side-effect is headache and fatigue, which only affects two per cent of people.

How long will the vaccine last?

It’s still unclear how long protection from the vaccine lasts and if it stops people transmitting the virus.

Is the vaccine compulsory?

The vaccine will not be compulsory.

How will people be vaccinated?

The vaccine has to be stored at -70’C in hospital hubs, who will distribute and manage the operational logistical complexities of administering the vaccine. and there will be three ways of vaccinating people: thorough hospitals, vaccination centres akin to the Nightingale Hospitals, and finally, when resourced with appropriate storage technology, in the community with GPs and pharmacists.

Who will get the vaccine first?

A ‘nine-tier system’ is in place, based on clinical need, to determine who will get the vaccine.

Residents in care home for older adults and their carers will be prioritised followed in second place by those aged over 80 years along with frontline NHS and social care staff.

In third place are those aged over 75 years followed in fourth place by those aged over 70 years and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

In fifth place are those aged 65 years and over followed in sixth place by people aged 16-64 years with underlying health conditions.

Finally, in seventh, eighth and ninth place are those aged over 60, 55 and 50 years respectively.

What about other vaccines?

Other vaccines are being developed. They will only be available on the NHS once they have been thoroughly tested to make sure they are safe and effective.