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Hope of COVID-19 vaccine deployment in UK by New Year, says report

Hope of COVID-19 vaccine deployment in UK by New Year, says report

London: One of the UK's senior-most medical chiefs has indicated that a vaccine against COVID-19 could be ready to be deployed by the start of the New Year, according to a media report on Sunday.

Jonathan Van-Tam, England's Deputy Chief Medical Officer and one of the government's advisers on the Coronavirus pandemic, has reportedly told members of Parliament (MPs) that the vaccine created at Oxford University and being manufactured by AstraZeneca could be ready for rollout soon after Christmas in December.

In India, the vaccine has a Serum Institute of India tie-up as it undergoes trials. "We aren't light years away from it. It isn't a totally unrealistic suggestion that we could deploy a vaccine soon after Christmas. That would have a significant impact on hospital admissions and deaths," The Sunday Times' quoted Van Tam as telling the MPs during a briefing last week. An MP who attended another briefing with Van-Tam told the newspaper that the medic was "very bullish about the third stage AstraZeneca results, which he expects between the end of this month and the end of next".

"Van-Tam expects it to protect the elderly and vulnerable. He gave us to understand that it stopped the virus shedding' in the young. He said he would expect vaccination to start in January," the MP was quoted as saying. It comes as the UK government introduced new laws on Friday that would allow larger numbers of healthcare workers to administer flu and potential COVID-19 vaccines.

"COVID-19 vaccines are being developed at speed which, if successful, will save lives," said Van-Tam, in reference to the new rules.

"All vaccines must undergo three stages of clinical trials and be assessed for safety and effectiveness by the regulator before they are given to patients. The measures outlined today aim to improve access and strengthen existing safeguards protecting patients, he said.

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