According to a spokesperson for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, at least 10 million doses of Pfizer ‘s latest coronavirus vaccine will be available in the UK by the end of December.
“In total, we have procured 40 million doses of the Pfizer candidate vaccine with 10 million of those doses being produced and available to the United Kingdom by the end of the year if the vaccine is approved by the regulators,” the spokesman said. It would be the first part of a huge order.
The only hurdle now will be the official sign-off from UK regulators on the candidate vaccine.
Sir John Bell, professor of medicine at Oxford University, notes that it would be “challenging” to coordinate the distribution of the vaccine, but that the UK was well positioned to benefit once it became available.
The professor, who advised the government on his Covid-19 plan, told The World at One on BBC Radio 4: “They will definitely start in the US-that ‘s possibly fitting. BioNTech is a German business, so I’m sure there will be doses available for Europe.”
The government has only requested thirty million doses, according to Sir John.
He said: “The United Kingdom has entered into a pre-approval deal to buy 30 million doses of this vaccine, so we are very well prepared when it becomes available to gain access to this vaccine.”
“The complexities of manufacturing are not small, so people need to be prepared to wait a bit to get it.”
As part of an attempt to curb a soaring second wave of coronavirus infections, England is currently under a second national lockout, but Boris Johnson says these latest vaccine opportunities are one justification for hope that the situation will improve by spring.
The findings are positive and we must note that there are no assurances when we are hopeful about a breakthrough.
“Once the safety data has been released, we will know if the vaccine is both safe and successful and only then will licensing authorities consider making it available to the public,” a spokesperson for the Prime Minister said.
“In the meantime, once the COVID-19 vaccine is available, the NHS stands ready to launch the vaccination campaign for those most at risk before being rolled out more broadly.”