Britain will seek to start administering a COVID-19 vaccine before Christmas with the bulk of the rollout at the start of the new year, with life getting back to normal after Easter, health minister Matt Hancock said on Monday.
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“We hope to be able to start vaccinating next month,” Hancock told BBC TV after AstraZeneca announced its vaccine could be up to 90 percent effective.
“The bulk of the vaccine rollout program will be in January, February, March. And we hope that sometime after Easter things will be able to start to get back to normal.”
He also said it was “fantastic news” that data showed that a COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca with Oxford University could be up to 90 percent effective and reduce its transmission.
“These figures ... show that the vaccine in the right dosage can be up to 90 percent effective,” he told Sky News, after an announcement from AstraZeneca.
“We've got 100 million doses on order and should all that go well, the bulk of the rollout will be in the new year.”
Hancock said AstraZeneca, Oxford and the medicine regulator would have to study the results to see how best to administer the vaccine once it was found to be safe.
“One of the things that regulator will need to look at is whether the program for how the doses are done which can lead to the 90 percent effectiveness figure, whether that is the appropriate way to take the Oxford vaccine forward,” he told BBC TV.
He also said there was evidence in the report that the vaccine could reduce transmission of the disease.
“Now of course that would be very good news if confirmed, because obviously what we want to do is not only stop people from getting the disease but also stop its transmission,” he said.