Coronavirus vaccine ‘ready to be fast-tracked before Christmas’ if trials go well, Hancock says


A CORONAVIRUS vaccine could be ready by Christmas and the law changed to fast-track its approval, the Health Secretary said yesterday.

Vaccine trials are going well and ministers are ready to allow more people to give it out – such as pharmacists and paramedics – so millions can get their hands on it.

The hunt for a coronavirus vaccine is on – with the Health Secretary optimistic it could even come before Christmas

Speaking in the House of Commons, the Health Secretary said the best case scenario was still that a drug which can prevent the virus will be developed in the next four months.

And he said politicians and the public “must do everything in our power to protect against a second wave here in the UK”.

Older people and anyone eligible to get the flu jab are likely to be the first ones to get it.

But social distancing and track and trace policies will be needed until a vaccine can be rolled out, he said.

Mr Hancock said: “The best-case scenario remains a vaccine this year. Since the House last met [in July], trials have gone well.”

The UK Government has signed contracts for access to several different vaccines, depending on which one is proven to work first.

ANd if one becomes available this year Mr Hancock said ministers would change the law to make sure that European regulators didn’t have to rubber stamp it.

Britain is in the transition period at the moment meaning we still have to abide by EU laws and regulations.

He said “people who are not registered healthcare professionals” could dish out the vaccine as a last resort.

But Professor Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer, has expressed doubt on whether a vaccine will be ready this year.

He has said it’s more likely to be the case towards the end of next year, if one is found to work at all.

The UK has secured 250million doses of a potential vaccine to the deadly disease.

Several of the frontrunners for one are from the UK – including the University of Oxford’s programme.

At the moment clinical trials with human volunteers are being carried out in several countries.