On Monday, news filtered through that the vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech is 90% effective - with zero safety concerns raised during its testing phase during which it was used on 43,500 people.
The sensation of relief that swept the country on Monday was understandable.
During the afternoon, news filtered through that a vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech has been confirmed to be 90% effective – with zero safety concerns raised from its testing phase during which it was used on 43,500 people.
This is as close as we’ve been to the prospect of immunisation since the pandemic took hold.
Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty called the news “very encouraging”, whilst Deputy CMO Jonathan Van-Tam even suggested there could be a vaccine by Christmas – with a “much better horizon by spring.”
But the truth is these are early days.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson – who himself must have been buoyed by the very real prospect of a magic jab after a torrid few months leading the nation – urged caution.
He warned it was still “very, very early days”, and that “the biggest mistake we could make now would be to slacken our resolve at a critical moment.”
Van Tam also admitted that setbacks during the distribution of a vaccine could easily happen, and attempted to clarify the situation with a football analogy.
“[We] haven’t won the cup yet, but what it does is it tells you that the goalkeeper can be beaten,” he said.
Here’s what we know about the new vaccine so far…
How does the vaccine work?
The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine works by teaching the immune system to combat coronavirus.
Two doses are required – three weeks apart – for maximum effect.
The vaccine involves injecting people with a tiny bit of the virus which the immune system immediately recognises as a threat and learns how to defeat; thereby offering future protection.
According to developers, 9 out of 10 people who receive the vaccine will not get COVID symptoms.
Who will get it first?
The most vulnerable people in the UK will have first dibs on any vaccine.
This means it’s likely to be distributed to care homes and hospitals – locations the virus has hit hardest.
Frontline workers may also be prioritised for doses.
The expectation is that the older you are, the sooner you will be eligible for the coronavirus vaccine.
Younger people are likely to be lower down the list unless they have a condition that categorises them as vulnerable.
Will it work?
It does, so far.
But the answer as to whether the vaccine will work in the long-term is a case of wait and see.
There are apparently some logistical challenges to storing the vaccine, too – with doses having to be kept at -80 degrees (facilities a humble GP surgery or pharmacy would not have).
The virus may also mutate later down the line, which would mean the vaccine would have to be tweaked in order to remain effective.
When will lockdowns stop?
Once the vaccine is ready, the challenge is getting it to the people who need it most.
This will take time, and until then, social restrictions remain of crucial importance in the fight against COVID-19.
Is the UK getting the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine?
Britain has ordered 30 million doses.
What about other vaccines?
There are around a dozen vaccines in the final stages of development – with news expected on these in the coming weeks and months.
However, the Pfizer vaccine appears to be the lead candidate.
The BBC’s Health and science correspondent, James Gallagher, stated: “We are still waiting for the full data, but these results are even better than people were hoping for.
“A good flu vaccine protects around half of people, so 90% at the first attempt is a triumph.”
Ancoats restaurant publicly exposes ‘angry influencer’ after spat over free meal
A restaurant in Ancoats has publicly exposed an influencer (twice…) who tried to ask for a free meal in exchange for exposure.
Lucky Ramen, a tiny spot on Blossom Street that has had queues forming for its noodle soups and Asian brunches, has become embroiled in a spat with an unnamed social media star.
It all started yesterday when the restaurant went public with a message it had received, which was requesting a complimentary brunch in exchange for a post on Instagram.
Lucky Ramen shared the message and wrote that they were ‘thrilled you appreciate our food’ but that the team ‘appreciate paying customers even more’.
They described it as ‘another thrilling DM from a blue tick superstar asking for a free feast in exchange for an Insta post’.
Which was already dramatic enough, but the influencer in question has been quite cross that Lucky Ramen in Ancoats has taken a swipe at them publicly.
It appears they’ve followed up with a much less polite message, saying the independent business is ‘bang out of order’ for trying to expose them.
The influencer asked: “So you think people like us don’t deserve to eat for FREE???”
They argued that they were trying to promote the restaurant for free, offering ‘time, labour, effort and positive energy’ in exchange for the free meal as compensation.
The unnamed user then said: “Your arrogance makes me sick. Haha very funny, you got a couple of giggles but we’re the ones that are laughing.
“We go where we want, eat what we want and lastly – it’s all for free! WHOS LAUGHING NOW???”
Of course, Lucky Ramen hasn’t left that message in the DMs either, once again sharing screenshots on its Instagram page.
And they’ve chosen to smack the influencer with pure sarcasm in retaliation…
They wrote: “Dear angry influencer. Okay, aaalright… you got us! We’re truly sorry for attempting to uncover your behind-the-scenes tactics yesterday and, you know, us trying to make a living and sh*t.
“But hold on, the new message we just got deserves more than a standing ovation!
“This follow-up DM is a total game-changer, and guess what? We’re now rolling out the red carpet for all the free meals you desire. And that’s not all – our chefs are ready to part ways with their Crocs and Birkenstocks, throwing them in as an extra bonus for your tender love and labour! Even my dad’s medal of honour from the Japan war is up for grabs – he’s feeling generous the old geezer, and he’s even contemplating wheeling in his new eco-friendly hybrid wheelchair for you!
“Just hit us up with another DM, let us know when you’re swinging by to collect your well-deserved goodies, and don’t forget to leave a glowing 5-star review on both Google and TripAdvisor.
“We appreciate your understanding and, once again, sorry for the “inconvenience” we caused.
“Bon appétit + Arigato-the-f*ck-outta-here.”
Will the influencer reply again? Someone pass the popcorn.
‘Dangerous’ disqualified driver jailed after crashing into funfair in Wigan
A “dangerous” disqualified driver has been handed jail time after crashing into a funfair in Wigan last year.
Jordan O’Reilly, from Platt Bridge in Wigan, has been sentenced after pleading guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, driving without insurance, perverting the course of justice, and failing to provide a specimen.
The 21-year-old was given three years behind bars following a trial at Bolton Crown Court yesterday (29 February).
O’Reilly’s sentencing comes after he crashed his vehicle into a funfair in Wigan while trying to evade a police pursuit back in October 2023.
#JAILED I A disqualified driver who led police on a chase and crashed into a crowded funfair in #Wigan has been jailed for 3 years
After failing to stop for a Greater Manchester Police (GMP) patrol, O’Reilly then drove in excess of the speed limit and overtook a number of vehicles, all before proceeding to abandon his own moving vehicle to escape.
The vehicle O’Reilly abandoned then carried on moving, and shockingly, ended up colliding with two members of the public at the funfair – with one woman sadly left with “serious injuries” as a result.
But thanks to the help of members of the public, O’Reilly was identified as the driver and later arrested by police.
A ‘dangerous’ disqualified driver has been jailed after crashing into funfair in Wigan / Credit: GMP
After he was released on bail, it was established that he had attempted to engage others into assisting him in evading prosecution.
Speaking following O’Reilly’s sentencing this week, PC Wood, of GMP Transport Unit, commented: “O’Reilly’s disregard to his driving disqualification and actions behind the wheel that day were reckless and dangerous, and he put countless people at risk of harm. The injuries caused to the victim show the consequences dangerous driving has on other people.
“GMP would like to thank the members of the public who ensured that O’Reilly faced justice for his actions.”
PC Wood also took a moment to remind the Greater Manchester public that if they know someone who is driving whist dangerously, or while disqualified or unfit to be doing so, then they should report it to GMP.