Saturday, 28 Nov 2020

Millions of Covid-19 vaccines ‘could be ready by Christmas’, claims professor

The UK could have tens of millions of coronavirus vaccines ready for production by the end of the year, a professor overseeing the trial claims.

Chief investigator of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine trial Professor Andrew Pollard says he is “optimistic” about getting approval on the jab by Christmas.

He has said his team's “miracle” work has been done at “record speed”, adding that the vaccine is on the cusp of demonstrating “efficacy”.

It comes after pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced its vaccine candidate is more than 90% effective in preventing Covid-19.

And now Professor Pollard has said the Oxford vaccine will be 10 times cheaper than the Pfizer/BioNTech jab and easier to deliver because it doesn't have to be stored at temperatures below -70C.

The director of the Oxford Vaccine Group told the Sun: “Ours are stored at fridge temperature.”

Researchers around the world are racing to develop and roll out a Covid-19 vaccine for mass use.

Professor Pollard said: “We’re optimistic we’ll be able to demonstrate efficacy by the end of the year.

"We have been working tirelessly all year and can’t wait to see the results in the months ahead."

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AstraZeneca will deliver the vaccine on a not-for-profit basis, he added.

The Government has put in an order for 100 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab, which is believed to cost £2.23 per dose.

It has also ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which needs two injections thought to cost £29.47.

Meanwhile, the next two weeks will be "absolutely crucial" in ensuring that England's coronavirus lockdown ends as planned on December 2, a Government scientific adviser has warned.

Professor Susan Michie, a member of the Government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), urged the public to resist breaking current rules, to "be in a position" to spend the festive period with loved ones.

She also suggested that the announcement of a potential Covid-19 vaccine could lead to complacency with the measures, adding that the jab will make "no difference" to the current wave.

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