The UK has ordered 100 million doses of the new Oxford vaccine with Health Secretary Matt Hancock announcing that the vaccine could be rolled out over the first three months of 2021 if approved by regulators.
In his announcement, Hancock stated that if approved by regulators the new coronavirus vaccine could be rolled out over the first three months of the new year.
The Health Secretary also added a sprig of hope by stating that if enough people were immunised then COVID-19 rules could be relaxed by Spring.
Hancock stated that he was ‘really pleased’ with the breakthrough vaccine, labelling is as ‘really encouraging news’.
However, the Health Secretary did declare that the vaccine still needs to be passed through safety tests by the MHRA regulator before it could be introduced to the public. He told the BBC Breakfast show:
We’ve got 100million doses on order and should all that go well the bulk of the rollout will be in the new year. It is subject to that regulatory approval and I really stress that because the medicines regulator, it's called the MHRA, is independent, they're rigorous, they're one of the best regulators in the world. They will be very, very careful to ensure that they look at all the data to make sure that this is safe.
Subject to that approval, we hope to be able to start vaccinating next month. The bulk of the vaccine rollout programme will be in January, February, March. And we hope that sometime after Easter things will be able to start to get back to normal.
Next year Easter falls on the 4th of April, but Hancock admitted he didn’t exactly know how long after the holiday normality will be restored, claiming ‘sometime after Easter is the best way of thinking about it’.
Hancock also stressed that the bulk of the population would have to be vaccinated before any of the new COVID safety rules could be lessened.
So far three majorvaccineshave been announced as close to the finish line with the UK purchasing doses from all three manufacturers. So far, both the Pfizer/BioNTech and the Moderna vaccine have around a 95% efficacy rating. However, all three vaccines are still in their trial phases.
The oxford vaccine has recently revealed some early testing results and found that the vaccine could prevent 90% of the population from developing the virus.
Developers have been testing various dosing patterns for the new vaccine and found that giving patients a half dose followed later by a full dose one month after suggests the jab could be 90% effective.
On the other hand, another pattern of giving a patient one full dose followed by another full dose one month after has resulted in around a 62% efficacy rating. This means that the vaccine has so far managed an average efficacy rate of 70.4%.
The UK has already ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford vaccine and is also set to receive 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and just 5 million of the Moderna vaccine, all of which they hope to roll out by Spring.