The first jabs will be administered by the NHS on Tuesday, according to Chris Hopson, the chief executive of NHS Providers.
Of the 40 million shots of the Pfizer vaccine ordered by the British government, 800,000 are expected to reach the UK by next week.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) defended the speed of its approval decision, saying it had “rigorously assessed the data in the shortest time possible, without compromising the thoroughness of our review”.
Meanwhile, Wales has announced that it will be give people ID cards to prove that they have had the vaccine.
Trump’s Covid response has been ‘great human tragedy,’ says Mitt Romney
Republican Senator Mitt Romney has criticised Donald Trump for what he called a lack of leadership during the coronavirus pandemic, labelling the president’s response to Covid-19 a “great human tragedy”.
Mr Romney, the party’s defeated 2012 presidential candidate, lamented that the pandemic has become a “political issue” in an interview with CNN, adding that people are “unfortunately dying“ because the message was not made clear to the public.
“Well, this [coronavirus] hasn’t been the focus of his rhetoric, apparently, and I think it’s a great human tragedy, without question,” Mr Romney said when asked about the president’s attention on making claims about election fraud.
Tom Embury-Dennis4 December 2020 12:57
More than 500,000 had virus in England between 22-28 November, according to estimate
According to the Office for National Statistics, an estimated 521,300 people in England had coronavirus from 22-28 November, which is a fall of more than 100,000 from the week before.
Sky News have published a clip providing a little more detail over the figures.
Tom Embury-Dennis4 December 2020 12:42
Primark lost £430m of sales as stores closed during lockdown
Primark lost £430m of sales during the national lockdown in England and restrictions in the rest of the UK, France, Belgium and Austria.
The cut-price fashion retailer had previously forecast sales would be down £375m. It has re-opened stores in England, France, Belgium and the Republic of Ireland in the past week with extended opening hours. Eleven stores are to open 24 hours a day to try to make up for lost sales in the run-up to Christmas.
Shoppers queued outside some branches ahead of the re-opening but 34 sites remain closed including all stores in Northern Ireland and Austria.
The Independent’s business reporter Ben Chapman has the latest:
Tom Embury-Dennis4 December 2020 12:24
Sweden to inoculate residents of nursing homes first
The Swedish government has announced that 600,000 elderly people in nursing homes as well as staff and the patients’ relatives will receive the country’s first vaccinations.
Stockholm is expected to received five out of the six vaccines bought under the EU’s common procurement scheme, with the Pfizer vaccine likely to be approved later this month by the European regulator.
Rory Sullivan4 December 2020 12:01
US to launch contract tracing initiative for international travellers
After a long wait, the US will at last roll out a contact tracing scheme for international arrivals.
The initiative from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Delta Air Lines will begin on 15 December.
Passengers on-board Delta aircraft will be asked to voluntarily submit information including their name, number and address during their stay in the US. This will then passed securely to the CDC.
Helen Coffey, The Independent’s deputy head of travel, has the details:
Rory Sullivan4 December 2020 11:45
Third of Spaniards willing to take vaccine immediately, poll shows
Roughly a third of the Spanish population would be happy to take a coronavirus straightaway, while 55.2 per cent of people would prefer for the effects to become known.
However, 8.4 per cent of respondents said they would not take any Covid-19 vaccine.
The findings were part of a study carried out by the pollster CIS in late November.
Rory Sullivan4 December 2020 11:27
Welsh citizens to be given ID cards after receiving Covid vaccine
People living in Wales will be given a “credit-card sized” token once they have received their coronavirus vaccination, the Welsh health minister has said.
Vaughan Gething said the ID cards would act as proof of inoculation and would also help to remind people to return for their second dose.
Plans for so-called “immunity passports” have not been announced in other parts of the UK.
Rory Sullivan4 December 2020 11:08
Norway to use three vaccines to combat Covid-19
Norway hopes to use three promising vaccines – developed by AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech – to inoculate its population against Covid-19, the country’s health minister has said.
Oslo is set to receive 2.5 million vaccine doses in the first three months of 2021, which will be administered to 1.25 million people, almost a quarter of the Norwegian population.
Rory Sullivan4 December 2020 10:56
Kazakhstan to produce Russian Sputnik V vaccine
The Kazakh president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has said that his country will start producing doses of the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine this month.
Kazakhstan, which is also developing its own vaccine, plans to start vaccinations in early 2021.
Rory Sullivan4 December 2020 10:40
England’s wellbeing in decline, warns report
England’s wellbeing is in “freefall”, according to a report into the nation’s happiness levels.
This study comes as part of the Carnegie UK Trust’s Gross Domestic Wellbeing (GDWe) index, which measures whether life is improving by tracking 10 different areas including relationships and the environment.
Jennifer Wallace, head of policy at the Carnegie UK Trust, said GDWE was declining before the pandemic, so “it is likely to be in freefall now”.
Ms Wallace called on the government to tackle inequalities across the country.
Here’s my colleague Adam Forrest with the details:
Rory Sullivan4 December 2020 10:15
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