When Britain became the first country in the world to approve a COVID-19 vaccine developed by U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer and German biotechnology company BioNTech, a wave of memes was shared by Twitter users celebrating the news of approval.
UK Health Minister Matt Hancock tweeted on Wednesday: “Help is on the way” and noted that “the UK is the first country in the world to have a clinically approved vaccine”.
The country’s National Health Service (NHS) is ready to start vaccinating people early next week, Hancock said.
Charlie Haynes, producer and reporter at BBC News, shared a collage of two pictures with the words “Christmas usually vs. Christmas this year”, which has received at least 3,900 likes and 718 retweets since tweeting.
One of the images showed a red Coca-Cola truck with Christmas motifs, while the other showed the same truck with a blue background with the Pfizer logo.
Deirdre Heenan, Professor of Social Policy at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, tweeted a similar collage with the two trucks mentioned above, which has received at least 112 likes since its first publication.
” Brilliant #Pfizervaccine news this morning – light at the end of the darkest tunnel. Whatever. Most people will not be vaccinated until next year. We should protect each other until the mass introduction. Wear your mask, wash your hands and keep social distance. #Vaccination,” Heenan wrote in the Tweet.
Christmas usually vs. Christmas this year: pic.twitter.com/dCWW8B2zhYQ
– Charlie Haynes (@charliehtweets) December 2, 2020
The author Rowan Coleman tweeted: “Hooray! For vaccines! As soon as it’s safe, I’m having a party. You are all invited. #vaccination”, with a meme from American actress Lucille Ball from the TV series I Love Lucy pouring champagne into the air.
User @KathyBurke shared a picture of characters from the TV series Muppet Babies dressed as scientists and remarked, “Hooray for the scientists! Smiling face with heart-shaped eyes #inoculate”. Since the first release, at least 6,400 likes and 469 retweets have been received.
Hooray for the scientists! #vaccine pic.twitter.com/t5RGmFdyXZ
– kath (@KathyBurke) December 2, 2020
Comedian Jane Godley showed a video of Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon with a voiceover note: “Frank gets the vaccine” #janeygodleyvoiceover #vaccine,” referring to the news that the first vaccines in Scotland could be administered in less than a week.
“Frank gets the vaccine” #janeygodleyvoiceover #vaccine pic.twitter.com/UlFr52XMJL
– Janey Godley (@JaneyGodley) December 2, 2020
The sturgeon tweeted on Wednesday: “There is not one sentence that has made me happier in nine long months than this one – ‘If we get the first doses of vaccine as soon as expected… I can confirm that the first vaccines against Covid in Scotland will be administered on December 8th – just 6 days from now'”.
Harry Cole, political editor of The Sun, a national British newspaper, shared the memory of a child kicking himself on the floor with the words “BREAK FREE”: “Brexite has helped Britain become the first country in the world to approve a vaccine, says Hancock”.
Hurray! For vaccines!
As soon as it’s safe, I’m having a party. You are all invited. #vaccination pic.twitter.com/FUjm7q2nWW
– Rowan Coleman (@rowancoleman) December 2, 2020
The UK has ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine, which is 95 percent effective against COVID-19. The quantity ordered is sufficient to vaccinate 20 million people, with two vaccinations per person. Ten million of these doses are expected to arrive before the end of the year.
According to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) report, at least 212 vaccines against COVID-19 are being developed worldwide (as of November 12).
Forty-eight of these vaccine candidates are in clinical trials according to the WHO, while 164 are in preclinical testing.
The overall picture
The novel coronavirus has infected more than 64 million people since it was first reported in Wuhan, China.
More than 1.4 million people have died worldwide and more than 41.1 million have recovered by Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The graph below, prepared by Statista, shows the total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses seized by different countries.