A breakthrough in the search for a coronavirus vaccine could save the world from the current pandemic, but just how effective is this new vaccine and will it get here in time to save Christmas?
Developers of the latest coronavirus vaccine, Pfizer and BioNTech, claim the new vaccine is 90% effective in protecting people from getting the virus. Scientists and government officials have hailed this news as a milestone, with Matt Hancock asking the NHS to be ready to deploy the vaccine from the start of December. The vaccine has been trialled and tested in six different countries by more than 40,000 people and so far no safety concerns have been raised. With news of the breakthrough vaccine comes the questions – who will get the vaccine and will it put an end to COVID-19 in time for Christmas?
Who will receive the coronavirus vaccine?
The vaccine is currently being pushed for emergency approval by regulators in hopes that jabs can be rolled out from December. Matt Hancock has said health and social care workers will be first in line for the vaccine along with the elderly. This is great news for NHS staff, care homes and elderly people in the UK. The Health Secretary is yet to list in order all the people who are in line for the vaccine, however, it appears that people under 50 with no medical problems could be last in line for the vaccine. If all goes smoothly, coronavirus vaccines will be available to those with a higher priority at GPs, care homes, pharmacies and new ‘go-to’ vaccination centres.
How effective is the vaccine?
If taken correctly, the vaccine is said to be 90% effective in protecting people against COVID-19. The vaccine must be given in two doses, three weeks apart from each other. Studies have suggested that both old and young patients can develop an immunity to COVID-19 using this vaccine, however, there hasn’t been enough time to discover how long-lasting the vaccine is, so only time will tell.
If immunity doesn’t last then regular shots might be necessary – similar to the annual flu shot. It has also been said that those with weaker immune systems won’t be able to take the vaccine. Fine details are yet to be announced, as it still isn’t entirely clear whether the new vaccine protects against catching or transmitting the virus, or if it just protects against the symptoms of the coronavirus.
Will Christmas be saved?
It’s highly unlikely that we will have a ‘normal’ Christmas this year even if the coronavirus vaccine is approved in time for December. There have been many statements made by scientists that contradict each other, with some saying life could be back on track by Spring of 2020 while others insist that it could take at least a whole year to vaccinate the UK – Matt Hancock has declined to comment on these claims.
In time, the vaccine will gradually get rid of the lockdown measures that are currently imposed on the British public, by reducing the number of people who can get infected. As with many new vaccines, it’s the creation and distribution that will take time and so it’s important to withhold the measures set in place until then, which unfortunately means sticking to lockdown, social distancing and wearing face masks.
What happens next?
It looks like for now nothing can be said for certain, however the future does look brighter. The eventual release of the coronavirus vaccine will massively help the UK and the rest of the world, although it looks as though it will still encounter some issues. In a survey carried out by ORB International, out of 2,065 Brits it was noted that 14% of people said they wouldn’t get a coronavirus vaccine – even if it was proven to be of high-quality, and a further 13% said they were undecided. With this worrying new information, we might still have a struggle on our hands if the vaccine is set to be released this year.