“We said earlier this year that there is an 80% chance of developing an effective vaccine by September.
“But right now, there is a 50% chance that we won’t get any results.
“We are in the bizarre position of wanting Covid to stay, at least for a little while. But the cases are decreasing. “
At the Downing Street press conference on May 17, business secretary Alok Sharma suggested that half the British population could get the jab this fall, if it worked.
But Professor Hill said success was far from guaranteed and warned of an “over-promise”.
“I would not book a vacation in October following these announcements, let’s put it this way,” he said.
“The number is increasing. Thirty million doses is hard enough, and a hundred million are more difficult in September. Remember, even if we get a result in August, we cannot start vaccinating everyone the next day. “
“There is a risk of promising too much here. This is how I usually say: this is our ambition. The risks are manifold. It has never been done before. We don’t know if we can do it. We think we can.
“You know, mistakes happen. Accidents also happen in the kitchen. This must be understood. “
Early next month, Oxford will release crucial results from an initial trial of more than 1,000 British volunteers conducted in April, when the disease was at its peak.