An outstanding feat: one year on from the start of the pandemic and already we have widespread vaccinations circulating the population. An example of what can only be described as excellence from scientists and researchers, the vaccine has been proven to be widely successful, and could perhaps be the key to overcoming coronavirus on a permanent level. So far in the UK, the total number of people who have received the vaccine has surpassed 30 million, and with the government ordering 400 more doses, it is likely that soon, widespread vaccination will be a not so unrealistic target.

However, it has also been reported that whilst the vaccines have been administered successfully in GPs, care homes and vaccination centres, many vaccines have also ended up not being used. Despite a tier system highlighting those who are particularly vulnerable, and therefore immediately eligible for vaccination in each local area, there are a number of corona vaccines that do not make it to a targetted patient. Partially due to expiry dates that deem the vaccines unusable and partially due to policy about how long tests can be kept, for some lucky individuals, the vaccine has become accessible earlier than expected, with administers choosing to use vaccines on anybody availible, rather than let them go to waste.

What has been dubbed “vaccine chasing” in the US, is perhaps in actuality the most sustainable option. NHS England said in a statement that “there is absolutely no reason why a vaccine should be wasted,” and so GPs across the country have prioritised using them up safely, rather than letting them go to waste.

I spoke with Victoria Williams, a resident of Bounds Green, who was able to receive a vaccine despite being under 50. She told me: “in light of the sense of urgency that Covid 19 has presented, it is appropriate that the NHS make use of all available opportunities to administer the vaccine, so whilst I recognise that there are certain groups that have been prioritised, I believe it is much more practical and efficacious to use the vaccine rather than to have it go to waste.”

It seems as though vaccinations are working. They signal the first step towards the end of the pandemic; a development that might make the threat of coronavirus a thing of the past. Although the tiered eligibility lists are working, the first priority is to let no tests go to waste, and so far, sustainability seems to be the focus. With an emphasis on low wastage, widespread vaccination may come around sooner than we think.