UK secure CureVac deal to develop new coronavirus vaccines
Downing Street adviser Samuel Kasumu appeared to accidentally reveal a target to give the vaccine to nearly all over-18s by summer in his resignation letter to Boris Johnson, which he later withdrew.
Mr Kasumu outlined his aim to leave “at the end of May, a time when we would hope the vast majority of the country’s adults would have received the first jab”.
The adviser went on to say how the pace of the vaccination process has been reassuring and will give people a summer of relaxed restrictions.
The BBC, who have seen the letter, said he wanted to walk away amid fears the Tory party was pursuing a “politics steeped in division” but was convinced to stay by vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi.
Despite the positive news, ministers have expressed more caution with some mapping out a timeframe in which all over-50s will be offered the vaccine by May.
Lockdown end in sight: Key UK timeline accidentally exposed in letter to Boris Johnson
Health Secretary Matt Hancock
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Lots of things ave got to go right to hit that goal, especially supply, which is the rate-limiting factor.
“But I’m sure, working with the NHS and everybody else who is making this happen, that if we keep going at the pace we can, then we can make sure all the over-50s get the offer of a vaccine by May.”
As of yesterday, more than 10,000,000 people in the UK have been given their first dose of a vaccine.
While 505,993 people have received their second dose.
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All adults in Britain could be vaccinated by May
The over-50s are the ninth and final priority group for vaccines, meaning the 33 million people who are the most vulnerable will have been inoculated.
This has sparked calls for lockdown restrictions to be lifted when the UK reaches this number of people vaccinated.
Mark Harper, who chairs the Conservative lockdown-sceptic Covid Recovery Group (CRG), said: “Those top nine groups account for around 99 percent of those that have died from Covid and about 80 percent of hospital admissions.
“It will be almost impossible to justify having any restrictions in place at all by that point.”
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UK coronavirus figures
The Government currently has an aim of vaccinating more than 15 million by mid-February.
Currently, there are three vaccines which have been approved by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.
Yesterday, the UK signed a new deal for 50 million doses of another vaccine which would be developed to fight against new variants of the virus.
The UK Government and vaccine manufacturer CureVac have teamed up for a new vaccine which will target new variants of the novel virus.
Boris Johnson with the AstraZeneca vaccine
This is in addition to the broader portfolio of 407 million doses already secured by the UK Government to date.
Mr Hancock said: “The vaccines we are deploying now are safe and effective, with the latest evidence suggesting they provide protection against new strains of COVID-19.
“But we must be prepared for all eventualities and bolster onshore UK manufacturing capacity to develop vaccines to combat new variants of the disease, taking advantage of our world-leading genomics expertise.
“This will help ensure we can continue to provide everyone with a high level of protection against the virus and save lives.”
England is currently in its third national lockdown
This latest vaccine is developed through this partnership against new strains of the coronavirus pandemic.
It will be a variant of an existing jab by CureVac, which is currently undergoing Phase 3 clinical trials.
This means it should be possible to accelerate clinical trials ahead of submission to the regulator for approval.