In Brief

NHS preparing to roll out coronavirus vaccine next month if jab gets approved

Five vaccination sites to be set up in major cities as part of mass inoculation roll-out

A coronavirus vaccine could start being rolled out across the UK as early as next month, leaked NHS documents suggest. 

The files reveal that officials are hoping two coronavirus vaccines could prove successful before the end of the year.

The documents outline plans for five mass-vaccination sites staffed by trainee nurses, physios and paramedics in cities including Leeds, Hull and London, The Sun reports.  

The sites will will have capacity to inoculate “tens of thousands of people daily” before the festive season and will be supported by “mobile vaccination units” across the UK, the paper adds. The documents also outline plans for teams aided by military personnel to travel to care homes and high-risk households.

“The earliest we are likely to get the first trial results is in a month’s time - which means the best-case scenario for a potential roll-out is just before Christmas,” a health source told The Sun, adding that “there will be no delay in vaccination once we have a working jab”.

Once a vaccine is approved, the full roll-out is expected to take three to six months, with patients likely to need two injections 28 days apart for the treatment to work.

AstraZeneca, the firm partnering the Oxford University to develop a vaccine, is overseeing a scaling up of manufacturing in parallel with clinical testing so that hundreds of millions of doses can be available if their vaccine is shown to be effective. However, Kate Bingham, the head of the UK’s vaccine task force, has warned that only around 50% of the population will receive one.

“There’s going to be no vaccination of people under 18,” Bingham told the Financial Times, adding: “It’s an adult-only vaccine, for people over 50, focusing on health workers and care home workers and the vulnerable.” 

Doctors in the West Midlands were last week told to prepare for a vaccine that would be ready by November, with 600,000 doses being manufactured nearby at Keele University, the BBC reports.

Speaking at the virtual Conservative party conference last weekend, Matt Hancock confirmed the plans “were in train”, adding: “It’s not just about developing the vaccine and then testing the vaccine - which is what’s happening now - it’s then a matter of rolling out the vaccine according to priority, according to clinical need.”

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