Britain can “get out of the coronavirus pandemic by Spring”, says Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
Mr Hancock made the bold pledge after regulators approved the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab for use in the UK. The government has ordered 100million doses of the jab, enough for 50million people, that is on top of enough of the separate Pfizer jab for 20million people.
The rollout of the Oxford vaccine can start on Monday 4 January “and really accelerate into the first few weeks of next year”, Mr Hancock said. But he also said he couldn’t put a figure on the exact number of jabs that will be given and when, although he did say that 50 million of the UK’s population would be vaccinated as quickly as possible.
The health secretary added by saying that lifting the current restrictions would also depend on how fast the vaccine could be manufactured – not just how fast it could be distributed once it’s made. “The NHS stands ready to deploy at the sort of pace that is needed to be able to help us to get out of this pandemic by the Spring.
“The NHS will deliver the vaccine into people’s arms as fast as it can be produced,” he said.
He went on: “I’m also now with this approval this morning highly confident that we can get enough vulnerable people vaccinated by the Spring that we can now see our route out of this pandemic. We also know all of us now that there’s a route out of this and the vaccine provides that route out, we’ve just got to all hold our nerve over the weeks to come until the vaccine can make us all safe.”
Asked if that would happen by Spring he replied;
“It will be by the Spring, and we can say that now with confidence, that we’ll be able to get out of this by the Spring.”
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