Britain secures early access to 90 million doses of 'promising' Covid-19 vaccine

20 July 2020, 07:08 | Updated: 20 July 2020, 09:52

The government says the deals will ensure the UK has the best chance of protecting those at risk - if the vaccines are successful.
The government says the deals will ensure the UK has the best chance of protecting those at risk - if the vaccines are successful. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The British Government has secured early access to more than 90 million doses of a potential Covid-19 vaccine to help protect the public from the virus.

In addition, treatments containing Covid-19-neutralising antibodies have been secured to protect those who cannot receive vaccines.

The Government has secured an agreement for 30 million doses of a vaccine being developed - and currently at phase two trials - by BioNTech and German firm Pfizer.

There has also been an in-principle deal done for 60 million doses of a vaccine that is being developed by France's Valneva.

On Monday morning Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweeted: "Britain has now secured early access to 90 million potential #coronavirus vaccine doses. I want to thank all involved who've achieved this.

"Members of the public have a vital role to play. I urge everyone who can to back the national effort & sign up to the NHS COVID-19 vaccine research registry to help find a vaccine as soon as possible."

The public is also being urged to sign up to a new NHS website to make it quicker and easier for potential volunteers to join vital studies that could help save lives.

The Government aims to have 50,000 people signed up by October to participate in large-scale vaccine studies across the UK.

Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) head, urged people to sign up as volunteers.

He said: "Thanks to Covid-19 patients' willingness to take part in treatment studies, we've been able to identify treatments that work and ones that don't, which has improved patient care world-wide.

"Now that there are several promising vaccines on the horizon, we need to call again on the generosity of the public to help find out which potential vaccines are the most effective."

The figure of 90 million vaccine doses is in addition to the 100 million doses of vaccine that are being developed by Oxford University in partnership with AstraZeneca, as well as another at Imperial College London which started human trials in June.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said the new agreements would "ensure the UK has the best chance possible of securing a vaccine that protects those most at risk".

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