Video report by Political Correspondent Dan Hewitt
Following the news that Pfizer have created a Covid-19 vaccine with 90% efficacy, the UK government has ordered enough to immunise one-third of the population.
Certain parts of the population will be prioritised over others, with the majority required to wait until 2021 to get their jab, however some will hopefully receive it prior to Christmas.
Who will get the vaccine first?
The government has listed the order in which various sections of society will be given the vaccine, with the oldest and most vulnerable prioritised.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said care home residents were among those who should be given the jab first.
The committee examined data on who suffers the worst outcomes from coronavirus and who is at highest risk of death.
It published interim guidance earlier in the year, but this has now been amended slightly.
In the new guidance, those who are deemed to be “clinically extremely vulnerable” have moved higher up the priority list.
The priority list for “phase one” of the Covid-19 vaccination programme is:
– Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
– All those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
– All those 75 years of age and over
– All those 70 years of age and over and people deemed to be clinically extremely vulnerable
– All those 65 years of age and over
– All individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
– All those 60 years of age and over
– All those 55 years of age and over
Once all these sections of the British population are vaccinated, the rest will be worked through.
The vaccinations will be carried out in care homes, GP surgeries and pharmacies, however there are logistical hurdles to clear, such as working out how to store the doses at the required -80C.
When can I get it?
There is no specific timeframe for the vaccination process to be carried out but Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England Jonathan Van Tam has said it is hoped inoculations can begin before Christmas.
Of the 40 million doses ordered, it is thought 10 million could arrive in the country before the end of the year to be provided to the oldest and most vulnerable.
People will be required to receive two doses 21 days apart for immunisation.
Dr Richard Vautrey, chair of the British Medical Association’s GP committee in England, said practices would “stand ready” to deliver a vaccine, with clinics potentially running from 8am-8pm, seven days a week.I
When will normal life return?
Jake Baum, Professor of Cell Biology and Infectious Diseases at Imperial College London, said normal life will likely not return "in one fell swoop."
"Vaccine roll out and disease eradication on a global scale was achieved over decades for smallpox - which required many different iterations of vaccine - and is still not over the finish line for polio; the first vaccines against polio were developed in the 1950s," he told ITV News.
"If the first vaccines work well, it could be by late 2021 we will all be able to live without thinking constantly about Covid.
"If any falter or there are safety issues, it could be longer. It’s a risky game to speculate.
"Optimism for a vaccine, however, is well placed and Professor Baum said "it will come."
"Life will return to normal, but we’ll get there a lot sooner if we all wear masks, observe social distancing and reduce opportunities for transmission as much as possible," he said.
"Give up now and we’ll see the already unimaginable numbers of deaths continue to soar.
"Vaccines help keep the gate closed, but aren’t great once the horse has bolted!"