London: Queen Elizabeth, 94 and Prince Philip, 99, are expected to be the first to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, whose first consignment has arrived in the UK and is set to be administered first to those above the age of 80 from today.
The initial batch received from Belgium has 800,000 doses. The UK has ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which is enough to vaccinate 20 million people with two doses, 21 days apart.
Anti-vaccine claims on social media and elsewhere are one of the major obstacles of UK's health officials who are planning the biggest mass vaccination programme in the country's history. Leading figures such as Queen Elizabeth taking the vaccine is expected to help overcome anxieties.
The British Press said on Sunday that Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip will inform that they have had the vaccine which will be rolled out in 50 hospitals that have the facilities for freezing the consignment at a temperature between 70 and 80 degrees Celsius.
Due to the age of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, they are in the first group identified for vaccination.
Frontline health staff, people over the age of 80 and care home workers will be the first to get vaccinated for COVID-19 that was approved by the UK's regulator on December 2.
Health Secretary of UK, Matt Hancock said, "I urge everybody to play their part to supress this virus and follow the local restrictions to protect the National Health Service while they carry out this crucial work."
Since the completion of the Brexit process on December 31 may lead to transport bottlenecks on the border, particularly if a deal is not agreed with the European Union by then, UK officials have decided to deploy Air Force aircraft to bring vaccine from Belgium from January 1.