According to reports, NHS workers are set to receive a coronavirus vaccine within weeks as the government prepares a mass roll-out before Christmas.
A head of the NHS Trust reportedly emailed his staff outlining how a national vaccination program could begin “in early December”.
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Glen Burley, executive director of the George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust in Warwickshire, told staff that a “coronavirus vaccine should be available this year” according to the Mail on Sunday.
He added that NHS staff should be “prioritized” before Christmas.
In his memo he wrote: “Our trust, together with NHS organizations at national level, should be ready to start a vaccination program for Covid-19 employees in early December.
“The latest findings are that a coronavirus vaccine should be available this year, with NHS staff giving priority before Christmas.
“The vaccine is expected to be given in two doses 28 days apart.”
“Vaccine Before Christmas”
Mr Burley urged staff to get a flu shot by the end of November in order to qualify for a coronavirus vaccine.
Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca are developing the jab and the government has already bought 100 million doses.
Plans are for NHS staff and frontline caregivers to get the push first, followed by people over 80.
David Eltringham, executive director of the George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust, told the newspaper: “We don’t have a precise date for the vaccine to be delivered, but we are preparing to start using the vaccine in early December.”
The latest findings are that a coronavirus vaccine should be available this year, with NHS staff being given priority before Christmas. ”
Diane Wake, executive director of the Dudley Group’s NHS Trust, recently said she was hoping for a vaccine in December.
She recently said at a board meeting at the hospital: “It has not yet been confirmed, but I hope to be able to offer our staff a Covid-19 vaccine.”
If the vaccination program starts in December, it could pave the way for Boris Johnson to ease the strict social restrictions that have been in place since March.
The paper also reports that the government has put in place new laws that would allow the UK to bypass the EU approval process if a safe vaccine is ready before the post-Brexit transition period ends on December 31.
A senior government source said: “We have made sure that a vaccine that has been shown to be safe and effective is not prevented from being used by the need for approval from Brussels.”
According to reports, new “Tier 4” restrictions on closing restaurants and non-essential stores could be put in place if current rules don’t tackle the second wave of coronavirus.
The government is said to be working out new plans to introduce an additional level of Covid-19 restrictions in England should cases continue to increase.
A decision on the new restrictions could be made next month once ministers have analyzed the effectiveness of the current three-tier system, according to inews.
Other options include a “Tier Three Plus” strategy and short-term local breaker lockouts to reduce the R-rate below one.
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