- The UK government believes a coronavirus vaccine could be ready to be rolled out before Christmas, according to a Times of London report.
- Boris Johnson’s government has bought access to 30 million doses of a vaccine being developed by Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company.
- Pfizer’s CEO said this week that Pfizer was not on course to deliver a verdict on the effectiveness of its vaccine, having previously indicated the company would be able to.
- Grim figures published on Thursday showed that 96,000 people are being infected with the coronavirus every day in England, with infections doubling every 9 days
- It places Boris Johnson under intense pressure to introduce further lockdown measures.
British officials believe a coronavirus vaccine could be ready to be rolled out before Christmas, according to a report from the Times of London.
Boris Johnson’s government has secured access to 30 million doses of a vaccine being developed by pharmaceutical company Pfizer, as well as a number of others which officials say may prove to be successful in immunizing people against the virus.
Pfizer’s CEO Albert Bourla
warned this week that the company was not on course to deliver a verdict on the effectiveness of its vaccine by the end of October, having previously indicated it would be able to.
Nonetheless, British officials are confident that the Pfizer vaccine could clear the final stages of testing within a few weeks or months and be ready for distribution in December,
the Times of London newspaper reported.
The vaccine would likely be distributed among elderly and vulnerable people first, according to the report.
It comes as grim figures, from
an Imperial College study published on Thursday, showed that 96,000 people are being infected with the coronavirus every day in England, with infections doubling every nine days.
Health officials also reported a further 310 deaths on Wednesday.
The numbers place significant pressure on Boris Johnson to introduce stricter lockdown measures, with much of England still living under relatively loose “Tier 2” restrictions which allow people to go to restaurants, pubs and cafes.
“These interim findings paint a concerning picture of the situation in England, where we’re seeing a nation-wide increase in infection prevalence, which we know will lead to more hospitalizations and loss of life,”
said Professor Paul Elliott, professor of epidemiology and public health medicine at Imperial College London.
“We’re also detecting early signs that areas which previously had low rates of infection are following trends observed in the country’s worst-affected areas.
“Now more than ever we must all work together to curb further spread of the virus and avoid subsequent overwhelming of the health service.”
A senior Cabinet minister this week admitted that families may be prevented from gathering at Christmas, warning that the second spike the UK is now experiencing will last well into next year.
“We’ve got to be realistic that if we seeing these trends continuing right through to December then Christmas in its fullest sense won’t be possible for any of us this year and perhaps coming to terms with that now is the right approach to take,” Robert Buckland, the justice secretary, told ITV.
“It doesn’t mean we can’t have Christmas but extended gatherings may not well be possible from the picture that is emerging,” he said. “I do think we’re in this for the long haul.”