A senior government adviser claimed today that Britain may return to normal by spring, after Matt Hancock refused to rule out making COVID vaccines mandatory.
Professor Sir John Bell, who is advising ministers on tackling the virus, said life is “ entirely possible ” that could look more than it did before March in just four months because of the UK’s ability to implement comprehensive vaccination programs.
He said as many as 30 million flu vaccines are rolled out each winter “ with absolutely no effort, ” a program he argued could be replicated with any vaccine for Covid-19.
He added that the success of Pfizer and Moderna means that it is “ likely ” that the highly anticipated Oxford vaccine – of which the UK has bought 100 million doses – will also produce antibodies to beat the virus.
There was a mad scramble to secure doses of Moderna in Whitehall yesterday, after trials showed that the vaccine – which works in a similar fashion to the Pfizer method – could be 94 percent effective against Covid-19.
The syringe, which is given twice over a four-week period, is much easier to dispense than the Pfizer vaccine because it can be stored in the refrigerator, unlike its competitor which needs to be kept at -70 ° C (-94 ° F).
Hancock revealed last night that the owner of the number 10 shirt had received 5 million doses of Moderna vaccine, but admitted that it would not arrive until spring at the earliest. The United States, which has already purchased 100 million doses, is expected to receive some before Christmas.
This comes after he rejected the possibility of mandatory vaccinations, saying he had learned “not to rule things out.”
There is growing concern in Westminster that anti-vaccination groups and the spread of misinformation on social media may lead to less than 80 percent of the population receiving the vaccine. Leading experts say this level is necessary to stop the virus spreading through the population and return life to normal.
Professor Sir John Ball, who is advising the government on the virus, said he was still certain the UK would be able to return to normal by spring.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock held a televised briefing last night announcing that Britain had purchased five million doses of the Moderna vaccine, which one trial claimed was 94.5 percent effective.
The head of health expects that families can be prevented from mixing for months even if the lockdown is lifted
Health chiefs have warned that families could continue to be banned from mixing at Christmas even if the lockdown was officially lifted on Dec. 2 – as ministers acknowledged that people wouldn’t know what was happening for weeks.
Dr Susan Hopkins, the Director of Public Health England, suggested last night that the lowest level of restrictions could be upgraded, meaning that families would still be prevented from mixing indoors even if the all-out pressure ended.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenric said this morning that there will be no “final” decision on whether the sweeping restrictions can be ended as scheduled until the end of the month.
In a round of interviews, Mr. Jinrik said that “the hope and expectation” is that the domestic tiers system could be reintroduced in England from 2 December – but he acknowledged it could be fixed.
However, Boris Johnson is under tremendous pressure from his deputies to make the system more flexible than it was before.
When asked whether the UK can return to normal within four months, Professor Bell told BBC Radio 4’s Today program: “ We distribute 30 to 40 million flu vaccines in two months with absolutely no effort.
So we can get vaccines into people in the UK, and in fact, I doubt most western countries can effectively.
“So I think the idea that we will vaccinate a very large percentage of the population by the spring is quite possible and I think that will make a big difference, because people will be less anxious about getting the disease” because after they vaccinate, the transmission rates will then drop to a low level and we will come back, may We’re not completely back to normal but things will look drastically different by spring.
He added that the positive results announced by other vaccine trials made the Oxford vaccine “more likely.” Its results are expected this week.
Professor Bell also said he believes that any vaccine is likely to stop asymptomatic infection and virus transmission.
He said, “I would be very surprised if (vaccines) did not reduce transmission.”
Professor Bell had previously predicted that the UK would be able to return to normal in March 2021, and said he was “ confident ” of the change.
It comes after Mr Hancock suggested yesterday that it could become a legal requirement for people in the UK to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
Speaking on talkRadio, the Minister of Health said yesterday: “I have learned not to rule out things during this pandemic.”
Hancock held a televised briefing last night announcing that Britain had bought 5 million doses of Moderna vaccine.
It has since emerged that the last-minute deal – which was not finalized until yesterday, after the results of the trial were announced – may cost Britain 10 dollars (£ 7.56) more per dose than the US paid for the strike.
At a cost of $ 125 million (£ 94.6 million) for five million doses, he said times, Britain will pay $ 25 (£ 18.91) per dose, compared to $ 15.25 (£ 11.54) in the US, which bought 100 million doses for $ 1.5 billion (£ 1.13 billion).
Hancock’s comments came as US company Moderna said a jab could be 94.5 percent effective against the disease.
The results of the early trials were announced yesterday and revealed that 95 of the more than 25,000 people tested positive in one study – only five of them were given the vaccine and another 90 were given a placebo vaccine to compare the results.
Moderna is the second vaccine that is now very likely to be administered in the UK, after a similar vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech released promising results last week, indicating that the vaccine dose was 90 percent effective.
The government now plans to get this vaccine out as soon as possible on December 1.
Moderna has become the second high-profile company to confirm interim results of a clinical trial of the Coronavirus vaccine, claiming that the vaccine is nearly 95 percent effective.
The Moderna vaccine works in the same way as the one developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, using a genetic material called RNA from the Corona virus to trick the body into making the “ spike ” proteins that the virus uses to attach to cells inside the body.
Downing Street insisted there were no plans to make vaccination mandatory, but the prime minister’s spokesperson also refused to rule out coercion.
“I hope a very large percentage of people will want to get the vaccine because it’s the right thing to do,” Mr. Hancock told talkRadio.
But he added, “We are not proposing at this stage to make it mandatory.”
When asked whether he would rule out mandatory vaccination, the Minister of Health said: “I have learned not to rule things out during this epidemic because you have to watch what happens and you have to make judgments accordingly.”
He said there are “complications” about making it mandatory because some people may not be able to take it for medical reasons.
Downing Street also refused to rule out the possibility of making it a requirement for people eligible to take the vaccine, although officials stressed that this was not the plan.
“We want the largest possible number of people to get the vaccine,” the prime minister’s spokesman said.
It will go through strict safety checks before it is licensed for use. But we are not suggesting to make it mandatory.
Asked if there could be restrictions – such as a ban on public transportation – imposed on people who refused to receive a vaccine, the spokesperson said: “We are not proposing to make it mandatory.”
Wells Minister of Health Vaughan Githing described mandatory vaccination as “the most extreme and most likely possible outcome”.
“It is definitely not part of our assumption of work” in Wales, Gething said at a news conference.
He said he was always “extremely skeptical” about the benefits of mandatory vaccination and was “not particularly keen on trying to change the law for this to happen.”
He said: “I am interested for people to understand the evidence for the safety of the vaccine, and then make the right decision to protect them and their family and society.”
How do the Moderna and Vaser / Bionic vaccines compare?
Moderna and Pfizer / BioNTech have both released interim results for the final phase of clinical trials of vaccines, with both indicating that they are highly effective.
Here’s how they compare:
Pfizer (USA) and Bionic (Germany)
MRNA vaccine – genetic material from the Coronavirus is injected to trick the immune system into making “spike” proteins and learning how to attack them.
MRNA vaccine – Moderna, Pfizer, and BioNTech vaccines all work in the same way.
94.5% efficacy (90 positive in the placebo group, 5 positive in the vaccine group)
90% effective (estimated 86 positive in the placebo group, 9 positive in the vaccine group)
The United States received 100 million doses for $ 1.525 billion (£ 1.16 billion), indicating that it would cost $ 15.25 (£ 11.57) per dose; $ 30.50 (£ 23.14) per person.
The United States will pay $ 1.95 billion (£ 1.48 billion) for the first 100 million doses, which indicates a cost of $ 19.50 (£ 14.80) per dose; $ 39 (£ 29.61) per person.
The UK government says the vaccine is not expected to be available in Europe until the spring of 2021. Moderna will produce 20 million doses this year, and they are expected to remain in the US.
The UK has already ordered 40 million doses, of which 10 million could be available in 2020. The first vaccinations are expected in December.
What side effects does it cause?
Moderna said the vaccine is “generally safe and well tolerated.” Most of the side effects were mild or moderate but included pain, fatigue, and headache, which were generally short-lived.
Pfizer and BioNTech did not produce an analysis of side effects but said that the Data Monitoring Committee “has not reported any serious safety concerns”.