Hospitals in the UK have been told to prepare for a vaccine before the end of this month. Patients living in care homes, people over the age of 80 and health workers are expected to be the first in line for the jab.
Jon Findlay, Head of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, is believed to have said that the vaccine could be ready in three weeks time during a meeting with senior managers and executives on Sunday.
Mr Findlay is believed to have said that care homes would be the first to receive the jab as they have accounted to 40 percent of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain.
It is thought that the vaccine will be distributed in two doses with three to four weeks between each dose.
The jab reportedly cannot be given to people who have had the flu vaccine within seven days, therefore those patients would need to wait.
The Government is thought to be looking into the idea of introducing laws to override the European approval process of vaccines if an effective and safe vaccine is produced before the end of the Brexit transition period, according to the Mail Online.
It comes as the Department of Health reported a further 156 deaths related to COVID-19 within 28 days of a positive test on Sunday.
It also reported that a further 20,572 people have tested positive for the virus.
Over 49 thousand people have died in the UK from the coronavirus.
The total number of reported cases in Britain is now over 1 million.
READ MORE: UK coronavirus deaths and cases PLUMMET offering hope peak has passed
Last week, UK Vaccine Taskforce Chair Kate Bingham, said the vaccine was being made in bulk first but could not be put into vials until more was known on the timing of late-stage trial data.
According to Reuters, she said: “We’ve not yet put them into vials because as soon as you put them into vials you start the clock for the… shelf life, or how quickly you have to use the vaccine.
“We are all ready to do that, but we haven’t done that yet.”
AstraZeneca also said that it was making rapid progress to start supplying hundreds of millions of doses once it receives regulatory approval.
In a statement, it said: “While we are ready to produce finished products, we must be thoughtful of how much is progressed to the final stages of the process to ensure maximum shelf life.
“We hold inventory in the drug substance form in order to have the longest possible shelf-life upon regulatory approvals.”
The Oxford University and AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to be one of the first jabs from big pharma to be submitted for regulatory approval.
Ms Bingham said that 14 million doses, between two vaccines, might be available before the end of the year.
According to a document, NHS England has told doctors that they would be paid £12.58 for each dose of the vaccine.