Senior Trump adviser Dr Anthony Fauci has said that A ‘safe and effective,’ Covid-19 vaccine could be ready by the end of November even as the UK Government accelerates its own timetable for a mass roll-out of the jab for NHS workers to ensure they’re treated before Christmas.
The Health Service has been told to have a staff vaccine scheme ready to go by early December according to an email sent by an NHS Trust Chief.
Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show, Dr Anthony Fauci confirmed a claim from US President Donald Trump that a vaccine could be ready to go.
The United States has donated $1bn toward the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine, securing 400million doses, as human trials of the vaccine started in the States last month.
The UK Government has pre-ordered 100million doses of the trial’s vaccine, should it be safe to use.
Dr Fauci told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show on Sunday: ‘We will know whether a vaccine is safe and effective by the end of November, the beginning of December.
‘But the question is, once you have a safe and effective vaccine, or more than one, how can you get it to the people who need it as quickly as possible?
‘The amount of doses that will be available in December will not certainly be enough to vaccinate everybody, you’ll have to wait several months into 2021.’
Dr Fauci’s comments come after it was revealed that the Government has introduced new laws that would allow the UK to bypass the EU approval process if a safe and effective jab is ready before the end of the post-Brexit transition period on December 31.
The move will boost optimism that a ‘game-changing’ vaccine will soon allow Boris Johnson to relax the social restrictions which have crippled the country since March.
A memo from Glen Burley, chief executive of George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust in Warwickshire, suggested NHS staff would be receiving a vaccine before Christmas. In a memo to staff, he wrote: ‘Our Trust, alongside NHS organisations nationally, has been told to be prepared to start a Covid-19 staff vaccine programme in early December.
‘The latest intelligence states a coronavirus vaccine should be available this year with NHS staff prioritised prior to Christmas.’
He said healthcare workers will likely be prioritised first for any vaccine, as well as people considered at increased risk of complications.
Dr. Fauci was asked for his thoughts after Donald Trump, speaking at a US presidential debate earlier this week, Mr. Trump said a vaccine would be ready ‘by the end of the year’.
Dr. Fauci said most Brits would not receive a vaccine until later in 2021.
He said: ‘That could start by the end of this year, the beginning of January, February, March of next year.
When you talk about vaccinating a substantial proportion of the population, so that you can have a significant impact on the dynamics of the outbreak, that very likely will not be into the second or third quarter.’
Mr. Burley added that the vaccine was ‘expected to be given in two doses, 28 days apart’, and urged his colleagues to have had their flu shot by the end of November so they can qualify for a Covid-19 jab.
Diane Wake, chief executive of the Dudley Group NHS Trust, told a recent hospital board meeting: ‘I’m hoping for a Covid-19 vaccine to be available to healthcare providers sometime in December. It has not been confirmed yet but I’m hoping to be able to offer a Covid-19 vaccine to our staff.’