Health Secretary Matt Hancock addressed the UK for the daily coronavirus briefing on June 18. Mr Hancock has addressed the current situation with NHS Test and Trace. Mr Hancock also explained who would be prioritised for a COVID-19 vaccination first.
When will a coronavirus vaccine be available?
A vaccine is widely regarded as key to the world moving forward from the coronavirus pandemic.
However globally there has not yet been a vaccine approved for COVID-19.
Numerous vaccine development projects are taking place across the world, with a major study taking place in the UK at the University of Oxford.
Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is collaborating with the UK Government on Oxford’s trials.
Human trials are currently underway, and Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca’s chief executive, told Belgian radio on Tuesday the vaccine will likely provide protection from COVID-19 “for about a year.”
He added to broadcaster Bel RTL: “If all goes well, we will have the results of the clinical trials in August/September. We are manufacturing in parallel.
“We will be ready to deliver from October if all goes well.”
Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands last week said that they had acquired 400 million potential vaccine doses – in principle available to all member states- from AstraZeneca.
According to recent reports, US company Johnson & Johnson is also currently in talks with European countries about securing a deal for a potential vaccine.
Reuters reported the European Commission is in advanced talks to reserve or make an up-front purchase of its COVID-19 vaccine.
The Commission’s deal with Johnson & Johnson is “in the pipeline”, a top health official from an EU member state told the news agency.
Mr Hancock said the joint committee on vaccination and immunisation had published interim advice.
He said: “They recommend priority vaccination for two groups: frontline health and social care workers and those at increased risk of serious disease and death from coronavirus.”
That would include the over-50s and those with heart and kidney disease.
“As we learn more about the virus we will continue to take into account which groups may be particularly vulnerable, including, for example, those from ethnic minority backgrounds so that we can protect the most at risk first, should a vaccine become available, and get this country back on our feet as soon as we possibly can.”