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(3rd December, from the Parkinson’s UK website)

The UK has become the first country in the world to approve a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine.

The Pfizer/BioNTech injection has been shown to offer up to 95% protection against coronavirus. 

The vaccine is given as two injections, 21 days apart. The second dose is a booster. 

Who will get the vaccine?

The UK government has said that residents and workers in care homes should receive the vaccine first, followed by people over 80 and other health and social care workers. 

After that, the Joint Committee for Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) has outlined a vaccination programme based on clinical need:

  1. Older adults resident in a care home, and care home workers.
  2. All those 80 years of age and over, and health and social care workers.
  3. All those 75 years of age and over.
  4. All those 70 years of age and over, and those who are considered clinically extremely vulnerable
  5. All those 65 years of age and over.
  6. High-risk adults under 65 years of age, including people with Parkinson’s.
  7. All those 60 years of age and over.
  8. All those 55 years of age and over.
  9. All those 50 years of age and over.

The roll out of the vaccination for those in the highest priority groups (the ones at the top of the list above) will begin from 8 December. 

The very first vaccinations are likely to take place at hospitals for care home staff, NHS staff and patients, as hospitals have the facilities to store the vaccine at the correct temperature. 

Mass vaccination for everyone over the age of 50 can begin as soon as enough stock is available, in 2021. 

How will I get the vaccine?

You will be invited for a vaccination when it is your turn, probably by letter. 

There will be 3 ways of getting an injection across the UK:

  • In hospitals.
  • At vaccination hubs, which are being set up across the country at the moment.
  • In the community, via GPs and pharmacists.

The injection is not compulsory.

Is the vaccine safe?

The UK has some of the highest safety standards in the world. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has met the strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the UK’s medicines regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). 
The MHRA has considered the license application as quickly as possible without cutting corners, because a vaccine to protect people against coronavirus is a priority. 
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is the fastest ever to go from concept to reality, but companies have been sharing trial data with the MHRA throughout development, which has also shortened the assessment process. 

Is the vaccine safe for people with Parkinson’s?

Our Clinical Director, Dr Donald Grosset, advises:

“The vaccine is safe for people with Parkinson’s. There is no interaction with Parkinson’s medication. Parkinson’s is specifically included as one of the conditions that is in a ‘clinical risk group’ and every adult with Parkinson’s should get the vaccine.”