There’s a potential end to coronavirus in sight. A vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech has shown in trials to be 90 per cent effective against Covid-19 – better than anyone hoped – and the first shots could be given to people before the end of this year. It has been tested across six countries on more than 43,000 people, and so far no safety issues have arisen.
Afraid not. While this is all looking very hopeful, the trial will continue into December 2020 and will need to receive a licence to confirm that it’s safe. If it all goes well, the UK will receive 10 million doses by the end of the year – and Matt Hancock, the health secretary, has asked the NHS to be ready to start rolling it out from early December. At the top of the list are health workers, those in care homes, the elderly and other high-risk people. For the majority of those under 50, there may be quite a wait. John Bell, Regius professor of medicine at Oxford University, has been reported as saying that this could mean a return to some normality by spring 2021, but others are being more cautious.
It’s very likely. But take note that if approved, it will take months for the vaccine to be distributed around the country, and for the R rate to come down. And travelling abroad would also depend on what precautions other countries are taking. The travel industry has welcomed the news, though, as a positive development.
Start researching your next holiday, perhaps, for when we can travel without quarantine again. And remember – the vaccine won’t affect the current second wave, so everyone is being asked to abide by the lockdown rules.