Everyone in UK could get coronavirus vaccine by Easter with rollout ‘3 months away’
Everyone in the UK could get a coronavirus vaccination by Easter as the government plans a mass roll out over just three months.
Scientists in Oxford who are working on the vaccine are anticipating it will be approved by early next year.
It’s believed that once the process is under way, it could take six months to distribute the vaccine, but that the timeline could be even quicker than that, according to government sources.
Rules are being drawn up to allow a much wider group of healthcare staff to give the jabs, and training will begin within weeks.
Drive-through vaccination centres are being planned to cope with the huge logistical challenge of giving vaccines to tens of millions of people. The armed forces are also likely to be called in to help.
“We are looking at closer to six months and it is likely to be far shorter than that,” a government source told The Times.
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But other officials are more cautions. A Royal Society report suggested it could take up to a year to successfully distribute a dose of the vaccine to every adult in the UK.
They believe that while priority groups could be targeted, it would depend on the successful roll out and administration of the vaccine in the first few months.
It’s likely that the elderly and vulnerable will be eligible for the jab first, which will be crucial in allowing the lifting of restrictions.
Young, healthy adults would be lower down the list.
The drug, currently being developed at Oxford University with the pharmaceutical giant Astrazeneca, is the most advanced of the vaccines that have been backed by Britain.
Human trials have been taking place since April and scientists remain confident that it could get approved by the end of this year, or the beginning of 2021.
If Britain’s 53 million adults were all to be vaccinated with two doses within six months, it would mean 600,000 jabs a day. To do the same in three months would require 1.2 million a day to meet the government’s proposed Easter target.
The government has ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford vaccine, which are being manufactured before it has been shown to be successful.
It’s thought that care home residents and staff will be the first to receive the vaccine followed by those aged over 80 and NHS staff.
After that, it will be the over 65s, followed by younger adults deemed to be high risk.
Over 50s would then follow, with younger adults being made to wait longer.
A vaccine could also mean that industries currently still shut down under coronavirus regulations would finally be able to open back up.
At the end of September, Skills Minister Gillian Keegan hinted that places like nightclubs could remain shut until a successful vaccination is approved, as some jobs “don’t fit” coronavirus.
She admitted that it was “hard to see how nightclubs will open until we have some kind of long term way to deal with coronavirus“.
From November 1, only “viable” jobs where someone can work at least a third of their hours will be supported – and employers will have to contribute 55% of a worker’s wages for just 33% of their hours.
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