- The UK government expects to release a coronavirus vaccine by the end of this year.
- England’s deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam reportedly told MPs that the vaccine developed at Oxford University could be ready during Christmas.
- This will allow the vaccination of the elderly, vulnerable, and primary workers to begin in the New Year.
- UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week said there were “some very promising signs” of a vaccine, “at least in the Oxford AstraZeneca tests.”
- However, he warns that “it cannot be taken.”
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The UK government expects a coronavirus vaccine to be available in December, reports said.
The representative of the chief medical officer of England, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, this week told members of Parliament that the vaccine developed at Oxford University with the drug company AstraZeneca could be used in groups with highest priority at the time for the New Year, according to The Times of London newspaper
He told MPs: “We are not very far from this year. This is not a completely unrealistic suggestion that we can impose a vaccine immediately after Christmas. That will have a huge impact on hospital admissions and deaths.”;
A long-time MP in attendance told the newspaper that Van-Tam was “very bullish about the third round of AstraZeneca results, which he expects between the end of this month and the end of next.”
If a vaccine is developed, the Boris Johnson government plans to first offer it to the elderly, vulnerable, and primary workers to significantly reduce the number of COVID-19 hospitals and fatalities. Van-Tam said he told MPs that it would make it more difficult for young people infected with the virus to pass it on to more people at risk.
Thousands of National Health Service staff will receive immunization training before the end of the year, reports The Times of London.
Professor Van-Tam’s comments came as the UK faced a second rise in the virus, with the Johnson government implementing a set of local lockdowns in a bid to address the increasing number of new infections in whole country.
The UK prime minister this week urged MPs to lower their expectations of a virus, warning them that the failure to come up with a vaccine for Sars shows that “it cannot be taken.”
Asked by Conservative MP Steve Baker on Monday to provide a specific timeline for developing a vaccine, Johnson said: “Oh, I can’t give him a date where I can promise with confidence that we will have a vaccine. .
“There are some very promising signs, at least from the Oxford AstraZeneca tests being conducted.
“But, as he knows, Sars happened 18 years ago, we still do not have a vaccine for Sars. I do not want to upset him, but we must be realistic about it.
“There’s a good chance of a vaccine, but it can’t be taken.”
Until and unless a vaccine is developed, the Johnson government hopes that upgrading the UK test regime along with the development of new therapeutic treatments will make it easier to suppress the virus and reduce the need for harsh restrictions on lockdown.