Oxford Professor 'hopeful' large numbers could be vaccinated against Covid by spring

Sir John Bell said we may not be back completely to normal - but things are going to look dramatically different by then.

Positive results from Moderna makes it more likely that some of the other vaccines, including the Oxford one, will have success in the coming weeks.

That from the Oxford University Professor of medicine, who says the next step is to get a jab distributed globally - and make enough of it!

Sir John Bell also told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the idea that we’re going to vaccinate a very large percentage of the population by spring is 'completely possible.'

Sir John, who is part of the Oxford vaccine team, said the developments are “exciting” and make it more likely that there will be positive news from other vaccine candidates including the Oxford/AstraZeneca one.

If the Oxford vaccine works it will be producing three and a half billion doses, according to the Oxford Professor.

He added: “It wasn’t certain until the Pfizer data came out last week that you could actually get a vaccine against this virus.

“On the back of those results, which were pretty powerful, I was expecting positive results from Moderna because the platform is much the same.

“And I suspect it makes it more likely, although not certain, that some of the other vaccines, including the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, will have success in the coming weeks.

“So I mean that is the big news because we could have been waiting a very long time for an efficacious vaccine as we have in many other diseases, so that’s, I think, why it’s so exciting.

“That’s sort of chapter one. We’re now on chapter two – we’ve got to get it out to people; we’ve got to get it distributed globally; we’ve got to make enough of it – nobody’s ever made this quantity of vaccine ever before. These are big challenges.”

Sir John, who is also on the Government's Vaccine Taskforce, told the programme: “We can get vaccines into people in the UK and in most western countries pretty effectively.

“So I think the idea that we’re going to vaccinate a very large percentage of the population by spring is completely possible.

“And I think that will make a big difference because people will be then less anxious about catching the disease because they will be vaccinated, transmissions will fall to a low level and we may not be back completely to normal but things are going to look dramatically different by the spring.”

The Government expects there to be a “significant easing” of coronavirus measures in December, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has said.

Sir John also said he was 'optimistic' that we won’t have to go into the Christmas period in a lockdown, adding, 'that would be a real problem in my view.”

The Government will decide next week how to end the current lockdown as scientists warned a tougher tier system is needed until vaccines can drive back the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

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