With coronavirus cases around the world now at almost 44 million, scientists have been working around the clock to develop a vaccine. Now, the UK Vaccine Taskforce Chief has revealed that she believes a Covid-19 vaccine before Christmas is 'possible.' Speaking to the BBC, Kate Bingham said: "If the first two vaccines, or either of them, show that they are both safe and effective, I think there is a possibility that vaccine rollout will start this side of Christmas, but otherwise I think it's more realistic to expect it to be early next year."
Ms Bingham's has also published an article in The Lancet, warning that the vaccine is 'likely to be imperfect.' Writing in The Lancet, she said: "However, we do not know that we will ever have a vaccine at all. It is important to guard against complacency and over-optimism. The first generation of vaccines is likely to be imperfect, and we should be prepared that they might not prevent infection but rather reduce symptoms, and, even then, might not work for everyone or for long," she said.
Ms Bingham wrote that the Vaccine Taskforce recognises that "many, and possibly all, of these vaccines could fail", adding the focus has been on vaccines that are expected to elicit immune responses in the population older than 65 years. She said that the global manufacturing capacity for vaccines is vastly inadequate for the billions of doses that are needed and that the United Kingdom's manufacturing capability to date has been "equally scarce".
While Ms Bingham is positive that the vaccine could be ready before Christmas, Matt Hancock claims that the ‘bulk’ of the rollout will happen next summer. Mr Hancock told the BBC: "We want to be ready in case everything goes perfectly but it's not my central expectation that we'll be doing that this year. The programme is progressing well, we're not there yet. “On my central expectation, I would expect the bulk of the roll out to be in the first half of next year."