Millions of people could be vaccinated against coronavirus as the UK secures early access to 90 million doses of promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates.
Announced by Business Secretary Alok Sharma today (Monday 20 July), the Government has agreed significant partnerships with leading pharmaceutical and vaccine companies BioNTech/Pfizer and Valneva that are developing innovative new vaccines to protect people against COVID-19.
The Government has also secured access to treatments containing COVID-19-neutralising antibodies from AstraZeneca to protect those who cannot receive vaccines such as cancer and immunocompromised patients.
As a result of these partnerships, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland could have access to enough doses to vaccinate and protect priority groups identified, such as frontline health and social care workers and those at increased health risk.
With today’s announcement, the Government has now secured access to three different types of COVID-19 vaccines that are being developed here and around the world, giving the UK the most likely chance of getting access to a safe and effective vaccine at the quickest speed.
The Government has also today launched the NHS COVID-19 vaccine research registry. This new website will enable people in the UK to play their part by volunteering for future vaccine studies.
The new online service will allow members of the public to register their interest and be contacted to participate in clinical studies. To enable large-scale vaccine studies to take place across the UK, the aim is to get 500,000 people signed up by October, which is considered vital in the fight against coronavirus.
Clinical studies with hundreds of thousands of volunteers will help scientists and researchers better understand the effectiveness of each vaccine candidate and will considerably speed up efforts to discover a safe and workable vaccine.
“The hunt to find a vaccine is a truly global endeavour and we are doing everything we can to ensure the British public get access to a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine as soon as possible,” said Business Secretary Alok Sharma.
“This new partnership with some of the world’s foremost pharmaceutical and vaccine companies will ensure the UK has the best chance possible of securing a vaccine that protects those most at risk.
“The public can also play their part in vaccine research through the new NHS vaccine research register. By signing up and participating in important clinical studies, together we can speed up the search for a vaccine and end the pandemic sooner.”