NHS workers: 'Vaccine is a game changer'

By Lindsay Brown
Newsbeat reporter

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Image source, Contributor photos
Image caption,
Dr Daniel Olaiya, Dr Sara Otung and Dr Mohammed Khaki

"This vaccine is more than good news, it's a game changer," Dr Mohammed Khaki tells Newsbeat.

Today it was announced the Covid-19 vaccine could be rolled out as early as next week - with NHS staff among the first to get it.

It's after the UK approved the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for widespread use.

Dr Khaki, who works as a GP and in A&E, says for doctors it'll hopefully mean the return to a normal situation.

"Hopefully we'll be able to see patients face-to-face and hold their hands again," he says.

The British regulator, the MHRA, says the jab offers up to 95% protection against Covid-19.

"It hopefully means we're able to move away from lockdowns, a world restricted by masks where conversation is difficult, where movement is difficult and working is stifled," Mohammed says.

He's looking forward to a world where we can travel and see friends again.

'I haven't seen family since March'

For many NHS workers, a vaccine will mean they can see vulnerable family members and friends again.

Image source, Dr Sara Otung

"I've been isolating from vulnerable family members since the beginning of March," Dr Sara Otung, who's been treating Covid patients in Cardiff, tells Newsbeat.

"The hope of getting a vaccine and getting that extra layer of protection is really exciting. Vaccines can save lives," the 27-year-old junior doctor says.

"It feels like a glimmer hope on what's been such a difficult year."

'Hope before the festive season'

"I was ecstatic to hear the news a vaccine is now becoming possible and we're getting closer to it," Dr Daniel Olaiya tells Newsbeat.

The 28-year-old works at a busy hospital in London treating Covid patients.

Image source, Daniel Olaiya
Image caption,
Dr Daniel Olaiya says the rollout of the vaccine is "monumental progress"

"For clinical staff working in Covid areas, you can wear as much PPE as possible and be as careful as possible, but at the end of the day we are at risk.

"Having another barrier of protection, a weapon of armoury, is exactly what we need."

"We needed a glimmer of hope and it's come at the best time - Christmas, New Year and new beginnings."

'It's absolutely amazing and a long time coming'

Lucy works as nurse administering the flu jab to NHS colleagues.

The 23-year-old says she expects to be on the frontline giving fellow NHS workers the Covid-19 vaccine in the next few weeks.

Around 50 hospitals are on standby and vaccination centres in venues such as conference centres are being set up now.

"If you're asymptomatic, you don't know if you've got the Covid virus ,so it's a really good way to stop the spread and protect those vulnerable around you."

Image caption,
This is the order people will get the vaccine in its first phase

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