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U.K. health authorities began rolling out the first doses of a widely tested and independently reviewed COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, starting a global immunization program that is expected to gain momentum as more serums win approval.

The first shot came early in the morning at one of a network of hospital hubs around the country where the initial phase of the U.K. program will be rolled out on what has been dubbed “V-Day.”

Public health officials are asking the public to be patient because only those who are most at risk from COVID-19 will be vaccinated in the early stages. Medical staff will contact people to arrange appointments, and most will have to wait until next year before there is enough vaccine to expand the program.

“I think there’s every chance that we will look back on… (Tuesday) as marking a decisive turning point in the battle against coronavirus,” said Simon Stevens, the CEO of England’s National Health Service.

The first recipient was grandmother Margaret Keenan, who turns 91 next week. She received the shot at University Hospital Coventry at 6:31 a.m.

Keenan says she feels “so privileged to be the first person vaccinated against COVID-19.”

The first 800,000 doses are going to people over 80 who are either hospitalized or already have outpatient appointments scheduled, along with nursing home workers. Others will have to wait their turn.

The 800,000 doses are only a fraction of what is needed. The government is targeting more than 25 million people, or about 40% of the population, in the first phase of its vaccination program, which gives first priority to those who are at highest risk from the disease.

After those over 80 and nursing home workers, the program will be expanded as the supply increases, with the vaccine offered roughly on the basis of age groups, starting with the oldest people.

Article first published in The Japan Times on Dec. 8.

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Collect words related to the U.K., e.g., the Queen, island, the Beatles.

New words

1) dose: a quantity of a medicine or drug to be taken at a specific time, e.g., “They found a lethal dose of the drug in her system.”

2) momentum: the force that keeps an object moving or keeps an event developing after it has started, e.g., “The economy lost momentum in April.”

3) privilege: a special advantage available only to a particular person or group, e.g., “Japanese people have the privilege of voting.”

Guess the headline

U.K. gives first d_ _ _s of COVID-19 v_ _ _ _ _ _ as world watches

Questions

1) How many doses of the vaccine are going to be administered initially?

2) Can you describe the first person to receive the vaccine?

Let’s discuss the article

1) What do you think about the vaccine program in the U.K.?

2) Will you take the vaccine when it arrives?

Reference

世界中が待ちに待ったワクチン接種がイギリスではじまり、その様子を各国が固唾を飲んで見守っています。その効果や副作用などは実際の大規模運用では未知数であるもののワクチンに対する期待は大きく、自分の順番が回ってくることを待ちわびる人も多いことでしょう。日本で接種が始まるまでには少し時間がかかりそうですが、その時を皆さんはどのような気持ちで待つのでしょうか。このウイルスに勝つために私たちは何を期待し何をすれば良いのか、朝英語の会に参加し皆さんで話し合ってみましょう。

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