Speaking to Nick Ferrari on LBC radio, the Health Secretary claimed he would be prepared to be among the first group of people to receive the coronavirus vaccine if required to convince people of its efficacy and safety. Mr Hancock stunned the radio host when he said he “technically” comes under the definition of health worker with his role in Government, which would allow him to qualify for the first batch of COVID-19 vaccine doses.
In response, Mr Ferrari joked: “Alright, show off!”
To which Mr Hancock replied: “I’m prepared, if the public wants it, to go first.
“Not literally first, but to go in early to show I have confidence.
“If a regulator signs off a vaccine then I will have every confidence to take it.”
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The Health Secretary confirmed the Government has secured orders for 100 million doses of the Oxford vaccine – enough to vaccinate most of the population – with rollout expected in the coming weeks if the jab is approved.
AstraZeneca and Oxford University announced their jab is effective in preventing many people getting ill and it has been shown to work in different age groups, including the elderly.
The also has orders for 40 million doses of a jab from Pfizer and BioNTech, which has been shown to be 95 percent effective.
Another jab from Moderna is 95 percent effective, according to trial data.
“All three are showing that they are effective,” said Mr Hancock, “all three are now going to be looked at by the regulator to double triple-check that they are safe, and then all three have different properties in the roll-out as well, and we’ve ordered different numbers of the different vaccines.”
AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot, said: “Today marks an important milestone in our fight against the pandemic. This vaccine’s efficacy and safety confirm that it will be highly effective against COVID-19 and will have an immediate impact on this public health emergency.
“Furthermore, the vaccine’s simple supply chain and our no-profit pledge and commitment to broad, equitable and timely access means it will be affordable and globally available, supplying hundreds of millions of doses on approval.”
Oxford University said that interim analysis from its phase three vaccine trial shows that the 70 percent effectiveness comes from combining two doses.
One was 90 percent effective, the other 62 percent.
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Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at the University of Oxford, said: “The announcement today takes us another step closer to the time when we can use vaccines to bring an end to the devastation caused by (COVID-19).
“We will continue to work to provide the detailed information to regulators. It has been a privilege to be part of this multi-national effort which will reap benefits for the whole world.”
In a statement, Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group and chief investigator of the Oxford Vaccine Trial, said: “These findings show that we have an effective vaccine that will save many lives. Excitingly, we’ve found that one of our dosing regimens may be around 90 percent effective and if this dosing regime is used, more people could be vaccinated with planned vaccine supply.
“Today’s announcement is only possible thanks to the many volunteers in our trial, and the hard-working and talented team of researchers based around the world.”