Matt Hancock: NHS told to be ready for vaccine 'from the start of December'

10 November 2020, 08:40 | Updated: 10 November 2020, 14:53

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

While pharmaceutical giant Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine has been found to be more than 90% effective, the Health Secretary has warned it does not mean life can return to normal just yet.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has told LBC's Nick Ferrari that the Government "will be ready" to roll out a new coronavirus vaccine should it become available.

But he warned that "there are many hurdles still to clear," Mr Hancock told Nick that "we don't have a vaccine yet, what we do have is evidence this vaccine works."

But he added there were still steps to go.

"We must be confident that it is safe before we'll license it and before the regulator, or indeed I would allow it to be injected into people's arms."

He said while it was a "significant step forward, we're not there yet."

When Nick Ferrari asked what the next steps with the vaccine were the Health Secretary said the next hurdle would be "determined by the science."

He told LBC the NHS were being prepared from the start of December to help with the rollout of the vaccine.

Mr Hancock said the latest trials showing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 90% effective were "very promising".

He said the NHS was now working with the armed forces to ensure they were ready as soon as a vaccine was cleared for use.

Mr Hancock said his "central expectation" was that the "bulk of the vaccination will happen in the first part of next year."

The vaccine announcement made by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and biotech firm BioNTech does not mean things can go back to normal, for a variety of reasons.

US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer, working with German biotech company BioNTech, has released preliminary findings that suggest their vaccine is more than 90% effective in preventing Covid-19.

The vaccine has been tested on 43,500 people in six countries and no safety concerns have been raised.

Pfizer is now planning to apply to the US regulator the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency approval to use the vaccine by the end of the month.