Home News Hopes of vaccine by Christmas as doses seen rolling off production line

Hopes of vaccine by Christmas as doses seen rolling off production line

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‘Hundreds of thousands’ of doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine have already been manufactured, it’s been revealed.

The Pfizer jab is being stock-piled en masse at the drug giant’s plant in Puurs, Belgium, The Mail on Sunday reports.

It comes as the UK’s deputy chief medical officer said a different potential vaccine – produced by Oxford University and Astra Zeneca – could be rolled out just after Christmas.

Jonathan Van Tam reportedly told MPs this week: ‘we aren’t light years away from it.’

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In news that will bring some hope to the millions around the world suffering from the impact of the pandemic, the two leading potential vaccines have apparently taken big steps forward recently.

Pfizer’s UK boss Ben Osborn told the Mail on Sunday: ‘It was great to see the first vial coming off the manufacturing line.

‘It just brought a tremendous smile to my face to see all of this work actually result in a product.’

Vaccines rolling off production line
Inside Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine manufacturing plant (Picture:Pfizer)
Vaccines rolling off production line
Hundreds of thousands of doses are being stock-piled (Picture: Pfizer)
Vaccines rolling off production line
Permission to administer the jab will be sought in the US in November (Picture: Pfizer)

Doses of this vaccine are being manufactured in anticipation of clinical trials being successful and regulators deeming it safe and effective.

Up to 100 million doses could be made available this year, of which 40 million will end up in the UK. The company is already planning to manufacture 1.3 billion jabs in 2021, according to the Mail on Sunday.

The jab is currently being tested on 44,000 people. Everyone is expected to need at least two doses.

Every stage of the vaccine’s development has been closely followed around the world. Although working at a far faster speed than normal, scientists have already missed the most ambitious deadlines set earlier in the pandemic when it was hoped a vaccine could be approved by the autumn.

It’s believed emergency approval for the pfizer vaccine will be sought in the US in November. Meanwhile hundreds of NHS staff are set to be trained up to deliver vaccine doses to ensure it can be rolled out to the most vulnerable groups as quickly as possible.

A scientist is pictured working during a visit by Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (unseen), to Oxford Vaccine Group's laboratory facility at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, west of London on June 24, 2020, on his visit to learn more about the group's work to establish a viable vaccine against coronavirus COVID-19. (Photo by Steve Parsons / POOL / AFP) (Photo by STEVE PARSONS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
A scientist is pictured working at the Oxford Vaccine Group’s laboratory facility at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford (Picture: Getty Images)
File photo dated 05/10/09 of a nurse preparing to give a patient a vaccine. The Government has signed deals for 90 million doses of promising Covid-19 vaccines, with more in the pipeline. PA Photo. Issue date: Monday July 20, 2020. The latest deal is for vaccines being developed by an alliance between the pharmaceutical giants BioNtech and Pfizer as well as the firm Valneva. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: David Cheskin/PA Wire
The Government has bought millions of doses of the vaccines, in anticipation of them being given approval (Picture: PA)

The Sunday Times reports that, in a meeting with MPs, Professor Van-Tam said stage three trials of the Oxford vaccine could be rolled-out in December.

Boris Johnson and his scientific advisors this week played down the chance of the vaccine being ready imminently but it is hoped behind-the-scenes, things are looking more positive.

According to the Sunday Times, Professor Van Tam said: ‘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.’

Speaking earlier on the Ridge on Sunday programme on Sky News, Professor Jeremy Farrar, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), was less optimistic.

He said there is ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ but a vaccine and more effective treatments are still up to six months away and highly unlikely to be ready by Christmas.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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