The UK is first in line for Oxford vaccine says Downing Street

It follows report that Donald Trump is considering grant emergency authorisation for its deployment in the US.

The Covid-19 vaccine is being developed by Oxford scientists and pharmaceutical giant Astra Zeneca.

A Number 10 spokesman said: “We have been clear that we will only roll out a vaccine once it is deemed safe and effective by our regulators.”

The UK Government has struck a deal with AstraZeneca to get “first access” to it once approved, the spokesman said.

“AstraZeneca have entered into a number of agreements with other countries, they have the global licensing agreement with Oxford, but we have been clear: once it has been found to be effective, we have signed a deal for 100 million doses which means that once it is effective the UK will get first access,” the spokesman added.

Commenting on the prospect of the vaccine being fast-tracked in the US, England’s deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries said that everyone around the globe should have “fair and safe access to vaccine development”.

Dr Harries told Sky News: “We have a global crisis… It is really important that everyone around the world has fair and safe access to vaccine development.

“Obviously those countries which are more developed have the facilities to develop the vaccine and get it safely out to their populations. But I think all public health colleagues would be wanting fair distribution.”

Commenting on the reports of the White House plan to fast-track the vaccine ahead of the US election, Danny Altmann, professor of immunology at Imperial College London, said: “It should be incredibly disturbing to the global medical community to see any potential attempts by any politicians, whether in Russia, the USA or elsewhere, to seek to manipulate, short-circuit or exert influence in any way over the agreed scientific protocols that are in place to carefully evaluate comparative safety, immunogenicity and efficacy of vaccines.

“In decades to come, we won’t remember which politician polled a few more or less votes, but we really won’t forget any failed opportunities to put in place the safest most effective possible global programmes to eradicate this pandemic.”

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