THE NHS is gearing up for an initial rollout of a coronavirus vaccine as early as November this year.
Health sources say staff at a major London hospital trust have been told to be ready to receive the first batches of the Oxford AstraZenica jab from “week commencing the 2 November.”
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What coronavirus vaccines are available?
GlaxoSmithKleine and Sanofi
One of the new vaccines is being developed by GSK and Sanofi is based on the DNA of the virus.
It takes recombinant protein-based technology used to produce the seasonal flu vaccine, which is then combined with GSK's established pandemic adjuvant technology.
Sanofi has said that regulatory approval could be achieved by the first half of 2021 if trials are successful.
Human clinical studies of the vaccine began in September followed by a Phase 3 study in December 2020.
In the meantime, Sanofi and GSK are scaling up manufacturing to produce up to one billion doses a year overall.
AstraZeneca and Oxford University
Another of the vaccine frontrunners includes the treatment developed by Oxford University in conjunction with AstraZeneca, with millions of doses already stockpiled.
But with patients needing two jabs, 28 days apart, inoculating vast numbers of Brits is set to be a logistical nightmare.
The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is made from virus ChAdOx1, a weakened version of a common cold virus (adenovirus) that causes infections in chimpanzees.
The vaccine is still in testing, but a major effort has been ordered to have the world-leading hospital in London ready to go as soon as it is given the green light.
The Sun has learnt other clinical trials at the famous hospital have been paused as all resources go toward preparing to vaccinate thousands of doctors, nurses and other frontline staff.
And extra security measures are being planned over fears of anti-vaccine protests and to protect the valuable stock.
As it is likely to be one of the first hospitals in the world to begin vaccinating frontline health workers, there are fears it could be targeted and requires extra support.
The Health department said: “The NHS has a tried and tested track record for delivering vaccination programmes and will work with existing partners across the healthcare system to ensure a Covid-19 vaccine can be deployed safely and effectively.”
The spokesman added: “A Covid-19 vaccine will only be deployed once it has been proven to be safe and effective through robust clinical trials and approved for use by the independent regulator.”
The UK government has ordered 100 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Pfizer and BioNTech
And another vaccine is being worked on by Pfizer and BioNTech.
Dr Onyema Ogbuagu, who is serving as principal investigator for Pfizer’s vaccine clinical trials, said there’s no way to know for sure when its vaccine will be available, but researchers hope the trial results will be in by November.
Dr Ogbuagu said: “So I think that the most optimistic expectations around the vaccine availability would be the first quarter of 2021."
Who will get it?
The first people to get the vaccine will be frontline heath and social care workers, the elderly and the most vulnerable.
The NHS is gearing up for a major roll out of a Covid jab from November 2020 – with five mass vaccination centres ready before Christmas.
The giant sites – manned by trainee nurses, physios and paramedics - will be able to treat tens of thousands of people daily.
Leaked documents reveal officials are hopeful that two coronavirus vaccine jabs will prove successful before the end of the year.
The first mass vaccination centres are planned for sites in major cities including Leeds, Hull and London.
They will be supported by hundreds of mobile vaccination units dotted nationwide, while roving teams will visit care homes and vulnerable Brits
VACCINE Q AND A
Here's a quick Q&A about vaccines:
CAN we get a vaccine?
Research to find a vaccine is happening continuously, with about 100 studies around the globe. Trials need to show the vaccine is safe.
WHAT’S the UK doing?
A potential vaccine being developed at the University of Oxford has begun its human trials — the first in Europe.
HOW will it be produced?
The Oxford study has linked up with UK pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca to mass produce the potential vaccine on a not-for-profit basis during the pandemic.
WHEN will one be available?
Most experts reckon by mid-2021 but the Oxford team says researchers will know if their jab works by this summer.
IS there a drug to treat the coronavirus?
Early results of a US trial suggest antiviral drug remdesivir cuts the number of days patients take to leave hospital by almost a third.
HOW does it work?
Remdesivir, originally developed to treat Ebola, targets a cell enzyme the virus needs.
IS it a game changer?
Potentially. Dr Anthony Fauci, leading member of the US coronavirus task force, said: “What it has proven is that a drug can block this virus.” But a second trial in China showed no benefit.
WHO is looking for a drug cure?
There are around 300 clinical trials going on worldwide.
Have there been vaccine trials?
While there is no fully tested coronavirus vaccine out yet, the UK government has invested in four different trials, all of which look promising.
With the announcement on July 29, the Government has now secured early access to four different types of immunisation and a total of 250 million doses.
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On July 20, the UK secured 90 million doses of a potential vaccine to make sure Brits are first in line for a jab.
The deals include vaccines being developed by pharmaceutical giants BioNtech and Pfizer as well as the firm Valneva.
This is in addition to the 100 million doses of a vaccine being developed by Oxford University with AstraZeneca.