Coronavirus Vaccine might be available by the end of 2020
The Health Secretary Matt Handcock announced today that the NHS should become ready for deployment of coronavirus vaccine from the start of December 2020.
The Covid-19 vaccine has been developed by Pfizer and BioNTech and is found to be 90 % effective against the virus.
The Health Secretary called the development a "promising news" however warned that it was only one step of many the country needs to tackle the pandemic once and for all.
The Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed a "huge thanks" to Kate Bingham, the head of the UK's vaccine taskforce, for securing 40 million doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine.
According to the British Medical Association Covid-19 vaccines could be available from GPs and large drive-through sites 12 hours a day and seven days a week.
Doctors should get ready to start giving out jabs as soon as they are available, the medical union said.
GP surgeries were advised to be ready for "rapid delivery" of Covid-19 vaccines as soon as they are approved.
Guidance on a new "directed enhanced service" were given to family doctors, describing that they would work longer hours from 8am to 8pm Monday to Sunday to deliver the vaccination. Patients are set to be given two vaccine doses - either 21 or 28 days apart.
As well as GPs and chemists, vaccines could also be available at mass vaccination centres that will operate "in a similar way to testing centres" There could also be "roving teams" of vaccine nurses who offer jabs to those in care homes or to people who are housebound.
Vaccine availability will be limited at the beginning, meaning only small numbers of vaccines may be given in December with most vaccinations taking place in early 2021.
"Working together, practices will need to be prepared to offer vaccinations seven days a week so that the vaccine is delivered within its short shelf-life and so patients receive it as soon as possible."Practices will need to work together to decide which one practice (or another appropriate site) is used for the vaccination site, remembering the need for provision to be potentially available 8am to 8pm, seven days a week."
But scientists have expressed concerns about how GPs will store vaccines as they must be kept at -80C. They say many surgeries do not have freezers cold enough for them.