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COVID-19: UK COVID Vaccine Programme Leading the World

It is fair to say that in the past couple of years, whether it be about Brexit or COVID-19, there has been lots of negative press and uncertainty. At times, it has felt like bad news story after bad news story in the midst of a cold and damp winter, and there has been little to bolster the mood and sentiment of the British people. For this reason, it is all the more important that we acknowledge and celebrate any positive news. The success of the UK’s vaccine programme certainly fits into this category. The harsh reality is that the UK has experienced the highest COVID death rate in the world, on a per capita basis. While New Zealand has not reported a single COVID death since September 2020, we have seen an average of nearly 1,000 people dying each day with the virus; a stark contrast indeed. In this article, we will discuss why the UK’s COVID vaccine programme is such a cause for optimism and positivity, and why we may emerge from the pandemic stronger because of it.

Optimism Sorely Needed with The World’s Highest Death Rate

We don’t want to dwell too much on the fact the UK has the worst COVID death rate in the world, but doing so really highlights why positive news offers such a contrast, and hence a basis for robust optimism. Research by the Oxford-based research platform Our World in Data shows with painful clarity that with a death rate of 935 on average per day, no other country in the world has a higher COVID death rate. The Czech Republic did have the highest rate (16.32 per million people), but we moved into the first position on 11th January 2021 (16.55 per million people). The third-highest rate has been seen in Portugal, with a death rate of 14.82 per million people, followed by Slovakia, Lithuania, Sweden, and Slovenia.

Despite the UK’s high COVID-19 fatality rate, it is now some cautious hope that we are over the peak for this third wave. Speaking in mid-January, Professor Chris Whitty said, “We expect that the peak of infection has already happened in some parts of the country, particularly the south-east, east and London”. This appears to have been borne out as of early February 2021, as while death rates are still high (though falling slowly due to the lag between infection and mortality), infection rates have plummeted to around 17,000 per day from a high of 68,000 in early January 2021.

UK Leading the World in The COVID Vaccine Roll-Out

While the UK has the highest COVID death rate, it also has one of the highest COVID vaccination rates (14.9), third only to Israel (58.8) and the UAE (34.8) on a per 100 people basis. By comparison, other countries in Europe have much lower rates of vaccinations, with Germany on 3.1 and France at 2.4 per 100 people. China is also very low, at only 1.7 per 100 people. For the UK, this means that around ten million people have received a form of vaccination, suggesting that the target of vaccinating 15 million by mid-February is possible.

There are several reasons why the UK has been able to vaccinate so many of the most vulnerable so quickly. One reason is that it was fast to sign deals with big pharmaceutical companies, often much earlier than other larger countries, and the EU in particular. As a case in point, it is believed that the UK signed a deal with Astra Zeneca three months before the EU, and hence has received a large supply earlier. This was confirmed by AstraZeneca's chief executive, Pascal Soriot, who stated that because of this head start, the UK has had "an extra three months to fix all the UK glitches we experienced".

Other reasons for the UK’s high performance in the ongoing covid vaccine roll-out programme include:

  • Early regulatory approval – the UK’s medicines regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on 2nd December, before any other country in Europe. Several others have been approved since, including the Astra Zeneca and Moderna vaccines.
  • Increased production capacity – before the pandemic, the UK had little production capacity for vaccines, however, due to large scale investment, this has increased markedly.
  • Prioritising the first dose – this is perhaps one of the biggest risks (albeit highly calculated) that was widely criticised internationally, but appears to have paid off. The calculation made by the British was that while we could administer the first and second doses within the guideline timescales recommended by the drug manufacturers, delaying the second dose would mean that more people would benefit overall, but with possible lower overall efficacy levels. Research now shows this strategy is valid, as the Oxford vaccine appears to provide 76% protection for up to 12 weeks after the first dose is administered. This supports the justification for increasing the second jab interval to three months. The Oxford research also shows that delaying the second vaccine actually increases the efficacy of the jab to 82.4% from 54.9% if boosted under six weeks after the first.

More Reasons for Optimism

It is all too easy to feel increasingly pessimistic due to the media coverage of covid, but the fact is the progress we are making is remarkable. From over-the-counter medications which may stop the virus being contracted, to high-tech genetic surveillance designed to detect new strains ensuring that new versions of the vaccine will be updated to provide ongoing protection, and improved in-hospital treatments, there is much to be upbeat about. Professor Andrew Pollard, head of the Oxford vaccine team, is now hopeful that the vaccine virus will evolve into a less dangerous form, similar to a cold. He explained the virus is “trying to escape from human immunity, and that’s whether it’s from vaccines or from infection”. He went on to say, “I think that’s telling us about what’s to come — which is a virus that continues to transmit, but hopefully, that will be like other coronaviruses that are around us all the time, which cause colds and mild infections”. “Their whole raison d’etre is to be able to transmit between people — but we will have built up enough immunity to prevent the other severe disease that we’ve been seeing over the last year”. Let us all hope that Professor Pollard’s words are borne out in reality by this time next year.

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O.L

Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing.

As a lawyer myself I can categorically say that he knows his stuff, gentle, responsive, cares about you and not just about the money, very professional.
I mean I can go on and on!

Andy and the entire team at Reiss Edwards are amazing!

Thanks again Andy.

Kiran Sardar


I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this professional as there are lots of emotions always involved in each and every case.

The way they dealt with my case during COVID19 Situation is highly appreciable. I would definitely recommend Joe D. and Anna F. Anna is an amazing lady, her patience is beyond my words.

Her hard work and professionalism have no boundaries. She is the right person for all type of cases.

Thanks to Anna and Joe for all your support and guidance which helped me fulfill my dream.

I would say Reiss Edwards is lucky to have Joe D. and Anna F. Great job Reiss Edwards.

thanks once again. Anna you’re a Gem and a Star.

Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was outstanding. Handling the case with constant correspondence over a lengthy, lockdown delayed 7-month application process. Her expert advice guided us successfully through some difficult times as a result of COVID-19. Some of the best service I have received for any service ever! Often replying to emails late at night, offering to send additional correspondence to the home office and going above and beyond in handling our case! Well done and thank you Reiss Edwards and thank you Anna!!".

Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR application was successful 6 weeks after the submission amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. I also think the portfolio put together by the team at Reiss Edwards has played a big part in the quick turnaround of my application".

Jesse Lee

"Reiss Edwards did a great job, and so much work, for their reasonable fixed fee. I would heartily recommend them to anyone looking to secure a Visa and /or Visa renewal. I will use them again when mine needs to renew. Great value".

Majlinda Berisha

"The help, the professionalism, the kindness from this team is phenomenal. A massive thank you to Anna Foley.

I have had a really tough time with getting my husband’s visa. My last immigration lawyer made many mistakes that caused stress, disappointments and sadness.

I was weary about getting another lawyer as I thought I was going to go through the same experience but no, it turned out better than what I had hoped or even imagined.

What I received was: constant emails and calls updating me and asking if anything else is needed. If I called and they missed my phone call I would get a call back within 10 minutes. All of my documents were carefully checked and I would get a reply the next day if anything was missing or not correct. There were times that I was impatient and asked to just send the visa off, but was reminded that everything had to be perfect and correct before submitting the application. I was told about every option I had and discussed what the best would be. I was always spoke in a nice, calm, polite manner.

The overall intelligence of this team, especially Anna Foley for me, is outstanding. I am speechless. Anna done such an amazing job on my husband’s application that although we couldn’t apply for the fast service and was told to wait for 12 weeks, we got a reply within 5 weeks.

That alone shows what an amazing and talented team Reiss Edwards are. Thank you".

Christine .C

"I wholeheartedly recommend Reiss Edwards to anyone who is in search of immigration advice. I had the pleasure of speaking with Amar who has been very thorough in finding a solution to my enquiry, and followed up with additional information even after the consultation. I normally don't leave reviews, and this firm already has enough good reviews for me to need to my own anyways! However, in this instance, I do hope that my review can let anyone who reads it be aware that RE is a great choice, these people care enough to help you the best they can".

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"Thank you, Ms. Anna Foley! I am writing this with tears of joy.

As a family, we are all grateful to Anna Foley and her firm Reiss Edwards, for doing all the hard work and giving us the best support. Finally We found the best law firm".

Saira Lawson-Brown

"Highly professional organisation and really supportive solicitors. Ina Iteva the solicitor that was provided to us was a blessing in disguise, as our first solicitor was let go off due to pandemic. She was so supportive and understanding throughout the process, and my husband spouse visa was granted due to their effort and attention to detail. We constantly try to keep in touch with her and consider her as more of a friend now than a solicitor. Sure, to bother her and the firm more in the future".

Nora Nkechi

"My Tier 1 Investor Visa was dealt with quickly and without issue. Would recommend Reiss Edwards as an Immigration law firm in London. Thank you to the team".

Deepak Chartbhurjh

"This is the only firm that i spoke with that didn't ask for money before listening to me, will be using them again. I used Reiss Edwards for my Tier 2 visa application and it was successful. The team was ever present and happy to answer my question. The caseworker that dealing with my case went on holiday yet by case did not suffer one bit. Another lawyer stepped and took over the case without any hassle".

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Top Notch Immigration Service

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Mo Hussein

"I have been using Reiss Edwards for three years now for my family's immigration application. Both for my initial application and extension. They are really affordable. The team of solicitors at this firm are probably one of the most efficient and economical in terms of cost. They offered free advice over the phone and spent good time with us before inviting us for consultation".

Gallagher Jones

"I contacted Reiss Edwards to help me with my wife's UK settlement visa. They acted with utmost professionalism throughout the entire application. I spoke with Joe Dinh, he is an immigration solicitor and he is one of the best solicitors out there. He ensured that there was little to no room for error. At some point I thought he was over cautious. He remained calmed and continued to assure us on our immigration matter. Most people in his position would have panicked but he was calmed and continued to assure us. We received out positive outcome very quickly".

Richard Stone

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Fong Li

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Nancy Jacquard

"It's a shame that you don't have an 'Excellent' star rating on here, as my experience with Reiss Edwards is nothing short of an excellent rating. They handled my application for an Indefinite Leave to remain in April 2014 and did my husband's one very recently including my daughter. Every time i have approached them, they have continued to treat me with courtesy, respect and patience. Amar was indeed a very thorough and professional gentleman. He is very knowledgeable, corporative and engaging. He responded to my emails, calls and enquiries promptly. He was always reassuring. I could not have asked for a better Immigration service. I would recommend them over and over again for anyone looking for an immigration advice. They gave me a free immigration advice when i called them, and the quality of the advice was something other charge thousands for. If you need a particular, name, Amar would be it. He exemplifies, for me, the true, professional gentleman. He is a valuable asset to Reiss Edwards".

Florence Giwa

"I am glad that i instructed Reiss Edwards on my visa matter. It started with a 20 minutes free immigration advice. I met with Amar to discuss my ILR refusal. He gave me a great deal of quality advice and decided to take on my messy case. I had doubts on the merits of my case by he was relatively convinced he could win it. That made me quite secure. To be honest, things did not start as quick as I would have wanted, but they kept on communicating the process and state of things to me.A big thank you to Verusha and Foram. They were also very helpful. Brilliant and informative. Their fee was fair and reasonable, especially if you compare them to other law firms and immigration law firms in London; some of whom even told me that i would not be able to get an indefinte leave to remain in this country. The process was long but was worth it. In the end, a big thank you to Reiss Edwards".

Salisu Ibrahim

"Fantastic Solicitors!!! My wife's spouse visa extension application was refused by the Home Office and they gave her 14 days to leave the country. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they said "OK don't worry we will sort this out". They put together the list of documents for me to obtain and they prepared a bundle which was as thick as the printer it came out from.We followed everything they asked us to do and in the end we won our appeal and got our spouse visa. We can't recommend them enough and we have promised ourselves never to make any more UK visa applications without them".

Amir Sandeep

"The team of lawyers at Reiss Edwards are very professional and friendly people. Their experience in and around UK immigration law is quite extensive; be sure that you application is in safe and competent hands. My immigration matter was an indefinite leave to remain application based on Tier 1 on a self-employment basis. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards made sure that the application was perfect and ready to be accepted. I got a positive decision and I recommend them highly for anyone who needs a UK immigration help".

Reiss Edwards Reviews

O.L

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"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was ou...

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Jesse Lee

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"Thank you, Ms. Anna Foley! I am writing this with tears of joy. As a family, we...

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"I have been using Reiss Edwards for three years now for my family's immigration...

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"I contacted Reiss Edwards to help me with my wife's UK settlement visa. They ac...

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Fong Li

"Investing over 2 million pounds is defintely not a routine decision. We had to ...

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"It's a shame that you don't have an 'Excellent' star rating on here, as my expe...

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"Fantastic Solicitors!!! My wife's spouse visa extension application was refused...

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