Imperial vaccine scientist says the UK won’t be back to normal until the summer of 2021 at the earliest.
The UK won’t start returning to normality until the summer at the earliest, the scientist behind the Imperial College London vaccine has warned, as the nation prepares to enter its second coronavirus lockdown.
Speaking on Saturday, prime minister Boris Johnson said there was a “realistic hope” that a vaccine would be ready to go “in the first quarter of next year”, raising the possibility of a “very different and better” spring. Professor Robin Shattock, however, who is leading one of two British bids to develop a COVID-19 jab, has offered a different time frame.
He said, quote: “I would anticipate with getting a vaccine out to vulnerable populations in the first half of next year, and with the potential gain over the summer that we saw this year – with incidences going down – that we’ll start to see life going back to normal in the summer of next year.” He added that the “first steps” for emerging from the pandemic would be dependent on vaccinating at-risk groups within the population, including healthcare workers and the elderly.
Professor Shattock went on to say: “If we achieve coverage of those groups by the summer, it would be game-changing. It wouldn’t mean everything went away, but it would give the opportunity to start coming out of this situation. It is a little bit like looking into a crystal ball.”
The Professor said he expects that the first vaccines will be made available after Christmas, with rollout among key groups set to follow in the first six months of 2021.
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