Two Covid-19 jabs ‘could be ready by Christmas’, NHS boss says
With coronavirus cases around the world now at over 48 million, scientists have been working around the clock to develop a vaccine.
Now, Sir Simon Stevens, CEO of the NHS, has claimed that two Covid-19 jabs could be ready by Christmas.
The NHS boss has primed GPs for a December roll-out of the vaccine.
He said: “Our job is just to make sure that we are ready and waiting and able to fire the starting gun.
“How certain are we that we would be able to get going with at least some coronavirus vaccination before Christmas, if it were available? I would answer ten out of ten.”
Sir Stevens’ comments come as vaccine chiefs confirmed that the UK will have stockpiled 14 million doses of two Covid-19 vaccines by the end of the year.
The vaccines are already being manufactured, with the NHS set to be able to start administering them as soon as they’re approved for use, according to Kate Bingham, the UK Vaccine Taskforce chair.
The 14 million doses are split across two vaccines.
Four million doses are of the UK leading vaccine candidate, developed by the University of Oxford, while 10 million doses are being developed by Pfizer in the US.
While the UK is likely to have 14 million doses by the end of the year, Ms Bingham warned that an issue could be finding enough staff to administer the jabs.
She said: “We’re going to have more vaccines than we’re going to be able to deploy, is my expectation.”
Andrew Pollard, the chief trial investigator at the University of Oxford, also beliees that there’s a ‘small chance’ the jab could be ready by Christmas.
“I’m optimistic that we could reach that point before the end of this year,” Mr Pollard said of presenting trial results this year.
Asked if the vaccine would be ready by Christmas he said: ”There is a small chance.”