- The UK government hopes to release a coronavirus vaccine later this year.
- England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Jonathan Van Tam, has told MPs that a vaccine being developed at Oxford University may be ready by Christmas.
- This would allow the vaccination of elderly, vulnerable and key workers to begin in the New Year.
- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said this week that there were “some very reliable signs” of the vaccine, “not least during the AstraZeneca trials at Oxford”.
- However, he warned that “this cannot be taken for granted.”;
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The UK government hopes that the coronavirus vaccine will be available by December, the report said.
England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Jonathan Van Tam, told parliament this week that the vaccine, which is being developed at Oxford University with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, could be available to priority groups before the New Year, according to The Times of London.
He reportedly told lawmakers: “We are not a few years away from this. It is not a completely unrealistic proposal that we can introduce a vaccine soon after Christmas. It will have a significant impact on hospitalization and mortality.”
A spokesman for the briefing told the newspaper that Van Tam “was very positive about the results of the third phase of AstraZeneca, which he expects at the end of this month and at the end of next.”
If the vaccine is developed, Boris Johnson’s government plans to first offer it to the elderly, vulnerable and key workers, to significantly reduce hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19. Wang Tam reportedly told lawmakers that this would make it much more difficult for young people at risk to be infected.
Thousands of employees of the National Health Service will be trained in vaccination by the end of the year, according to a report by the London newspaper The Times.
Professor Van-Tam’s comments come as the UK faces a second outbreak of the virus, as the Johnson government imposes a series of local blockades in an attempt to overcome a growing number of new infections across the country.
This week, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom called on MPs to harden their expectations about the virus, warning them that the lack of development of a vaccine against sarsa indicates that “it can not be taken for granted.”
Asked by Conservative MP Steve Baker on Monday to provide a specific schedule for vaccine development, Johnson said: “Unfortunately, I can’t give him a date by which I can confidently promise that we will have the vaccine.
“There are some very reliable signs, not least from the tests conducted at Oxford AstraZeneca.
“But as he knows, Sars took place 18 years ago, we still don’t have a vaccine against Sars. I don’t want to suppress it, but we have to be realistic about it.
“There is a good chance of a vaccine, but it cannot be taken for granted.”
Until the vaccine is developed, the Johnson government hopes that improving the testing regime in the UK and developing new therapies will make it easier to suppress the virus and reduce the need for strict restrictions.