NHS and military told to get ready to start Covid vaccines from the start of December
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has told the NHS and military to be ready to start vaccinating people against the coronavirus by the start of next month.
However, he has said no vaccine will be deployed until the Government is “confident” of its safety, while most people will not get a jab until 2021.
He has said while that was “very promising” there will be more steps to take before any programme will begin.
Mr Hancock said: “I have asked them [the NHS] to be ready from the start of December.
“Of course, there are many hurdles that still need to be gone over and we haven’t seen the full safety data, and obviously that is critical.
“We won’t deploy a vaccine unless we can be confident in its clinical safety, but we also do need to be ready should a vaccine be licensed and get through all those hurdles and be ready to roll it out.”
He has said it will be a mammoth task to roll out the vaccine, should it become available, with the priority of who gets it first to be set by clinical need.
“What is absolutely critical right now is that as soon as a vaccine becomes available we are ready to deploy it,” he told Times Radio.
“It will be a colossal exercise. The work has been going on for months to get this in place should this happen.”
He has also stressed it is important people still follow the restrictions and maintain social distancing until the vaccine is found to be safe and licensed for use.
Mr Hancock told Times Radio: “I want life to be back as close to normal as soon as possible. This is clearly a promising step but there are many steps to come.
“We are all really so pleased to see some light at the end of the tunnel but it is absolutely crucial that in the meantime we all hold our resolve.
“We have always said our strategy is to suppress the virus until the vaccine can make us safe.
"That has come one step closer.”