Professor Jonathan Van-Tam confirmed the UK will receive the vaccine “very shortly”, adding that he means “hours, not days”. The deputy chief medical officer was speaking about the temperature issue in relation to the Pfizer vaccine, telling the BBC: “Now, there is a technical issue related to the Pfizer vaccine that we currently expect to receive very, very shortly in the UK, and I do mean hours, not days.”
He said it must be held at minus 70C, and, once it comes out to defrost, it has to be stored at 2C to 8C.
The Professor said it is too early to say when the vaccine will enable coronavirus restrictions to be eased.
“If we can get to the point where the NHS is managing in a much more normal way than at present, then that gives politicians the option to think about what can be done next to make life more normal for us,” he said.
“It’s not my job to give you a magic number here or a magic calendar date because so much depends on how quickly the vaccine programme is rolled out, whether the people called forwards for the vaccine accept it.
“If we can get to the point where we are confident that these vaccines not only take out the illness but take out the asymptomatic infections sufficiently to stop people spreading the virus when they don’t know they have got it, that becomes a big game-changer and a big win.
“If we can get to the science that shows this is happening, that shows we have got vaccines that are really punching above their weight and that makes it more likely we can bring restrictions down faster than in any other way.”
More to follow…