Brendan Wren, a professor of microbial pathogenesis at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told Sky News: “You can certainly make a lot of it but whether you could get it to everybody that needs it is another issue and that’s why it’s good that there are other vaccines available.”
Matt Hancock has revealed the NHS could begin vaccinating people as early as the start of December.
Speaking to Sky News, Hancock said that no vaccine will be deployed until the government is ‘confident’ in its safety.
He added: “Of course, there are many hurdles that still need to be gone over and we haven’t seen the full safety data, and obviously that is critical.
“We won’t deploy a vaccine unless we can be confident in its clinical safety, but we also do need to be ready should a vaccine be licensed and get through all those hurdles and be ready to roll it out.”
It comes after Pfizer, a pharmaceutical giant announced its vaccine candidate is more than 90% effective in preventing Covid-19.
However, Boris Johnson warned Brits to not relax. Last night, he said: “Tonight that toot of the bugle is louder, but it’s still some way off. We absolutely cannot rely on this news as a solution.
“The biggest mistake we could make now would be to slacken our resolve at a critical moment.”
Hancock added that care home residents and staff, NHS and social staff and then elderly people would be first in line for the vaccination. He declined to add his voice to those who have said life could be back to normal by spring next year.
The British Medical Association has said the coronavirus vaccine could be available from GPs and large drive-through sites 11 hours a day and seven days a week.
The BMA told GP surgeries to be ready for ‘rapid delivery’ once the vaccines are approved by regulators.
Patients are set to be given two vaccine doses – either 21 or 28 days apart.
The BMA said in its statement: “Vaccine availability will be limited to begin with, meaning only small numbers of vaccines may be given in December with most vaccinations taking place in early 2021.
“Working together, practices will need to be prepared to offer vaccinations seven days a week so that the vaccine is delivered within its short shelf-life and so patients receive it as soon as possible.
“Practices will need to work together to decide which one practice (or another appropriate site) is used for the vaccination site, remembering the need for provision to be potentially available 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.”
However, scientists have expressed concerns over how GPs will store the vaccines that need to be kept at -80C.
Three households can meet indoors over Christmas as festive rules announced
The rules for Christmas have been announced, and three households will be able to meet indoors over the festive period.
Three different households will be able to form a ‘bubble’ for Christmas, between December 23rd and December 27th.
The Christmas rules will apply across the whole of the UK, Sky News reports.
It comes after the devolved administrations and UK government spent this week in meetings to work out a plan for Christmas, with an agreement happening on Tuesday afternoon.
The bubbles will only be able to meet in a private home, place of worship or outdoors, and won’t be able to go to a pub, restaurant or bar.
According to the rules, once a bubble is formed you can’t change it.
The lifting of certain rules will also see travel restrictions lifted across the UK over the five-day Christmas period, meaning people can travel anywhere in the country to meet their bubble.
Michael Gove chaired the meeting. He said: “For five days, from December 23rd to 27th, people will be allowed to have a Christmas bubble.
“That means that three households can get together so families can enjoy something closer to a normal Christmas.
“We all know that Christmas this year won’t be as it has been in years’ past, but all the governments agreed we should balance the need to protect public health with also allowing people to be with their loved ones.”
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “We have to recognise that Christmas is a very important time for people, and that you have to have a set of rules that people will be prepared to operate within.”
He added: “While I have hesitation, because of the state of the virus in Wales and across the United Kingdom, it is better that we have a common set of arrangements that give people a framework that they can manage within and act responsibly within as well.”
Boris Johnson says MPs shouldn’t get a pay rise during the coronavirus pandemic
It would be on top of their £81,932 annual salary.
Downing Street has said Boris Johnson believes MP should not receive an annual pay rise.
Next year, MPs are expected to receive a pay rise of £3,360 on top of their £81,932 annual salary, causing anger among the public as it comes at a time when ordinary people are struggling.
However, a Downing Street spokesperson has said that Mr Johnson has already frozen ministerial pay as he does not believe MPs should get a pay rise.
The spokesperson said: “MP’s salaries are obviously decided by an independent body but given the circumstances, the PM doesn’t believe MPs should be receiving a pay rise”.
On top of their annual salary, MPs are also able to claim allowances to cover the cost of running an office, employing staff and maintaining a constituency residence or residence in London.
News of the potential pay rise has caused outrage after thousands have lost their jobs in the pandemic. The exact amount of the pay rise is yet to be confirmed.
The PM’s statement comes following an awkward interview between Matt Hancock and Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan.
Piers said he would ‘love’ to hear the Health Secretary refuse a pay rise in the struggling economy.
Hancock said: “That’s what all ministers did in the pay freeze that there was after the global financial crash – me included.
“Let’s see what the final recommendation is and then I’ll come… I know, I’ll promise to commit to coming back on this programme immediately after that decision comes through and then I’ll let you know. I will answer this question when the pay policy has been set out by the chancellor.”
Piers interrupted and said: “I’m just asking you to say you are not personally going to take a penny.
“Just say I, Matt Hancock, right now tell Good Morning Britain viewers that in all good conscience it would be wrong of me to take a penny in a pay rise this year. And I am going to put my hand up and lead.”
Hancock, who is believed to be paid an annual salary in the region of £140,000, said: “It’s very tempting, it’s very tempting Piers. I am a stickler for not pre-judging things. You can’t knock me off the perch.”
Piers responded: “You’re not a parrot, you’re the Health Secretary in the year of the catastrophic handling of the pandemic.”
All the businesses that will have to stay closed under new Tier 3 rules
Everything you need to know…
As before, some businesses will be forced to close in regions which are put into Tier 3.
The new, tougher tier system will come into play next week when the national lockdown ends on December 2nd.
The country is set to find out which tier their region is in on Thursday, and while Greater Manchester’s infection rates are falling, there’s a chance we might be placed back into Tier 3 initially.
The Prime Minister announced on Monday: “So we’re not going to replace national measures with a free for all, the status quo anti-Covid, we’re going to go back instead to a regional tiered approach – applying the toughest measures where Covid is most prevalent.
“And while the previous local tiers did cut the ‘R’ number, they were not quite enough to reduce it below one.
“So the scientific advice, I’m afraid, is that as we come out our tiers need to be made tougher.”
In Tier 3, hospitality venues such as bars (including shisha venues), pubs, cafes and restaurants must remain closed.
They can continue business if they can offer sales via takeaway, click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery services.
Hotels, B&Bs, campsites guest houses and other forms of accommodation must also shut. They can only remain open for one of a few exemptions such as if it provides main residence for some people or it is used for reasonably necessary work or education and training.
Indoor entertainment venues must close. This includes:
- Indoor play centres and areas, including trampoline parks and soft play
- Bingo hall
- Bowling alleys
- Skating rinks
- Amusement arcades and adult gaming centres
- Laser quests and escape rooms
- Cinemas, theatres and concert halls
- Snooker halls.
Indoor attractions at mostly outdoor environments must also close.
- Zoos, safari parks, and wildlife reserves
- Aquariums, visitor attractions at farms, and other animal attractions
- Model villages
- Museums, galleries and sculpture parks
- Botanical gardens, biomes or greenhouses
- Theme parks, circuses, fairgrounds and funfairs
- Visitor attractions at film studios, heritage sites such as castles and stately homes
- Landmarks including observation decks and viewing platforms
Leisure and sports facilities – such as gyms – may continue to stay open, but group exercise classes (including fitness and dance) should not go ahead. Saunas and steam rooms must also stay closed.
You can see a list of all the different rules in each tier here.