A major breakthrough has finally been made in the search for a vaccine against coronavirus.
Pharmaceutical company Pfizer has announced the vaccine candidate is more than 90% effective, with no issues raised.
There are around a dozen vaccine trials in the final stages of testing – but this is the first to show any results.
A vaccine, as well as better treatments, is seen as the best way of getting back to a more normal life.
Although vaccines typically take years to develop, many experts believe the coronavirus vaccine will be ready in 2021 thanks to an unprecedented effort.
Developers Pfizer and BioTech plan to apply for emergency approval to use the vaccine by the end of the month.
But when the vaccine is ready to roll out, it won’t be made available to everyone straight away.
There will be a limited supply initially, so it’s important to prioritise the most vulnerable.
Less than half of the UK population will receive the vaccine, according to the government’s vaccine task force.
Kate Bingham, the task force’s chair, told the Financial Times: “We just need to vaccinate everyone at risk.”
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So who will be among those vaccinated, and who won’t?
On September 25, the government published a list of priorities when it comes to who will receive the coronavirus vaccine first.
- Older adults who live in resident care homes and care home workers
- All those 80 years of age and over and health and social care workers
- All those 75 years of age and over
- All those 70 years of age and over
- All those 65 years of age and over
- High-risk adults under 65 years of age
- Moderate-risk adults under 65 years of age
- All those 60 years of age and over
- All those 55 years of age and over
- All those 50 years of age and over
- Rest of the population (priority to be determined)
World's first coronavirus vaccine results show it is 90% effective, study finds
However, the government also stresses that the priority list could change substantially if the first available vaccines aren’t considered suitable for older adults.
Aged immune systems don’t respond as well to immunisation, which is also seen in the annual flu jab.
The results of the new vaccine trial have been described as a “milestone”.
The companies say they will have enough safety data by the third week of November to take the vaccine to regulators.
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Until then it’s not possible for countries to begin their vaccination campaigns.
The UK has already put an order in for 40 million doses – enough for 20 million people.
Professor Peter Horby, from the University of Oxford, said: “This news made me smile from ear to ear.
"It is a relief… there is a long long way to go before vaccines will start to make a real difference, but this feels to me like a watershed moment."
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