PM warns Covid vaccine ‘very hopeful’ but no solution this winter
- Credit: PA
Boris Johnson has insisted there is still a long way to go before coronavirus is brought under control despite news of a vaccine breakthrough.
The Prime Minister told a Downing Street press conference the vaccine had cleared a “significant hurdle” but there were more to cross before it could be used.
He said that while he is “buoyantly optimistic” about the prospects for next year: “I just don’t want to let people run away with the idea that this development is a home run, a slam dunk, a shot to the back of the net, yet.
“There is a long way before we have got this thing beat.”
MORE: Hospital bans visitors as Covid-19 cases rise and two more patients with virus dieIt comes as scientists have hailed Pfizer’s positive vaccine results as a “watershed moment” in the fight against Covid-19.
The pharmaceutical giant and its partner BioNTech said interim results showed their jab can prevent more than 90pc of people from getting Covid-19.
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Mr Johnson said: “The biggest mistake we could make now would be to slacken our resolve at a critical moment.”
The deputy chief medical officer for England, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, said he is “hopeful” the first coronavirus vaccine could be seen by Christmas.
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However, he said that there was more to be done before it became available and that it would be for the independent regulator to clear it for use in the UK.
“This is a very important scientific breakthrough. I am certain of that,” he said.
“I am hopeful because of all that, but not yet certain that we could begin to see some vaccine by Christmas.”
MORE: Coronavirus vaccine breakthrough could have ‘big impact’ says UEA disease expertHe said age would be “by far and away” the most important factor in determining who should receive the vaccine first.
Older adults living in care homes and staff working there will be first to receive vaccinations under updated government advice - with health and social care workers and people over 80 next in line, followed by over-75s.
The PM said ministers will “look at where the doses will be most appropriately distributed” and that “everything flows” from driving down the R rate.
He added that “people are pulling together” under the current restrictions, and that he believes they will get the R rate to below one.