PM not "100% confident" of Covid-19 vaccine this year, or next year

20 July 2020, 12:03

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson says a positive development but a vaccine may not be found
The Prime Minister Boris Johnson says a positive development but a vaccine may not be found. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he could not be "100% confident" that a vaccine would be available this year or next year.

The PM was speaking on the day the Government announced they had secured early access to a potential 90 million doses of coronavirus vaccine.

The Government has secured an agreement for 30 million doses of a vaccine being developed - and currently at phase two trials - by BioNTech and German firm Pfizer.

There has also been an in-principle deal done for 60 million doses of a vaccine that is being developed by France's Valneva.

But now Boris Johnson has raised questions over the timeline for any potential jab.

During a visit to a school in Kent the PM said: "Obviously I'm hopeful, I've got my fingers crossed but to say that I'm 100% confident that we will get a vaccine this year - or indeed next year - is, alas, just an exaggeration, we are not there yet."

The "sheer weight of international effort" will produce some forms of treatment or vaccines, Mr Johnson said, but until that point it was important to continue with social distancing measures, washing hands and wearing face coverings on public transport and in shops, he said.

"Then we will continue to drive the virus down by our own collective action," he said.

"It may be that the vaccine is going to come riding over the hill like the cavalry, but we just can't count on it right now."

The figure of 90 million vaccine doses is in addition to the 100 million doses of vaccine that are being developed by Oxford University in partnership with AstraZeneca, as well as another at Imperial College London which started human trials in June.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said the new agreements would "ensure the UK has the best chance possible of securing a vaccine that protects those most at risk".