BRITAIN'S Pfizer Covid vaccine will run out in weeks – with no new stock until March, Jeremy Hunt has warned today.
Mr Hunt today claimed the vaccine stocks would only last until the end of January, with hopes we will have the Oxford/Astrazeneca jab by then to cover the shortfall.
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Speaking to the Today programme, Mr Hunt said: "It (the Oxford jab being rolled out) will make a massive difference because the doses that we have of the Pfizer vaccine will keep us going until the end of January and I think we're not getting another shipment until March.
"If we could have the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine ready to go until January then we could keep the roll-out going at the current pace."
More than 137,000 people in the UK have so far received the first of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine – making it the largest vaccine programme in British history.
Boris Johnson currently has an aim of vaccinating 25million vulnerable adults and relaxing restrictions by Easter.
The former Health Secretary's warning comes amid fears Christmas could be ruined for millions if a travel ban is put in place.
Boris Johnson was last night in emergency talks over travel curbs for London and the South East which could be announced today.
Britain’s 350million Covid vaccine doses
THE government has ordered 350million doses of Covid-19 vaccine, with some ready to roll out by December 1.
This includes 40million doses of the promising Pfizer shot, which was revealed to be 90 per cent effect last week.
These are the other vaccines which the government has pre-ordered:
Oxford/AstraZeneca: 100million doses
A weakened virus that causes colds in chimpanzees, it has been shown to generate a strong immune response against Covid-19.
It has been genetically changed so that it is impossible for it to grow in humans, making it safe for children, the elderly and people with pre-existing conditions.
Currently in phase-3 trials in the UK, USA, South Africa, Japan, Brazil and Kenya, more than 50,000 test patients have been given the vaccine. Early reviews have shown it to be safe.
A company in Australia has already started making millions of vials in the expectation that trials will be successful.
Novavax: 60million doses
Contains purified piece of the virus that causes Covid-19. When it is administered, the body recognises it as “foreign” and mounts a protective immune response.
It has been shown to generate more antibodies than in patients recovering from severe Covid-19 infections.
Currently in phase-3 clinical trials in the UK and USA.
GSK/Sanofi: 60million doses
Uses the same protein as one of Sanofi’s seasonal flu vaccines coupled with a booster.
In phase-1 clinical trials but early results have been positive.
Valneva: 60million doses
An inactivated whole virus vaccine designed to prompt the body into creating high levels of Covid-19 antibodies.
The government has invested in Valneva’s manufacturing facility in Livingston, Scotland, to create a major UK vaccine factory.
Currently in pre-trial research, with trials due to start in December.
Pfizer/BioNTech: 40million doses
Prevents Covid-19 infection by targeting the virus’s “spike protein”, effectively disabling it before it can cause any damage.
Tested on 40,000 patients, it is currently in phase-3 trials, but the first interim analysis has shown it is 90 per cent effective.
Janssen: 30million doses
Uses a modified common cold virus to act like a Trojan horse that can deploy the Covid-19 virus’s “spike protein” to human cells, causing the body to generate antibodies.
Phase-3 trials among 60,000 patients were recently halted temporarily after an unexplained illness in one volunteer. Trials have since resumed.
= 350million doses in total
The emergency meeting came as medics issued a chilling warning that the new virus strain is 50 per cent more contagious than previous Covid-19 cases.
The draconian measures make the chances of a third national lockdown increasingly likely.
Last night a government source told The Sun: “What we do not know yet is whether the new strain is more or less likely to cause you harm, but what we have learnt is that it will pass to person to person much more easily and that is what we are really worried about.”
Mr Johnson could announce the new travel advice today.
A Whitehall source said: “This is a fluid situation but it’s not looking good and we have to act fast.”
A health source said: “The last 48 hours have changed everything.”
The Sun understands evidence shows a dramatic hike in positive cases in London in the past week.
The new strain is blamed for a sudden surge in hospitalisations.
And there are fears people are catching the virus despite wearing PPE and socially distancing.
The PM said meetings with others should be limited — as he warned a new festive spike could spark future lockdowns.
He tweeted: “If you are forming a Christmas Bubble, it’s vital that from today, you minimise contact with people from outside your household.
Everyone must take personal responsibility to avoid passing the virus on to loved ones.”
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