He told Downing Street today that the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has already started making a jab produced by scientists at the University of Oxford.
Hancock said, “They are starting manufacturing now, even before approval, so we can build up and be ready if it’s clinically approved. ”
A separate vaccine in production at Imperial College London is also in the early stages of clinical trials, he said.
The people who will be first in the queue for jabs when one is available are:
- Front-line health workers, including doctors and nurses in hospitals
- Social workers, including those working in nursing homes and making home visits
- Patients with heart or kidney problems
- Over 50s
In addition to this, he said that further research was underway to find out whether people belonging to ethnic minority groups were more at risk.
“We can protect those most at risk first if a vaccine is available,” said Hancock.
At the Downing Street press conference, he said that the joint committee on immunization and vaccination had issued an interim notice.
“They recommend priority vaccination for two groups: front-line health and social care workers and those at increased risk of serious illness and death from coronavirus.”
This would include those over 50 and people with heart and kidney disease.
“As we learn more about the virus, we will continue to take into account groups that may be particularly vulnerable, including, for example, those from ethnic minorities so that we can protect those most at risk first , if a vaccine becomes available, and get that country back on track as soon as possible. ”
Earlier today, a boss at the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that a second wave of coronavirus could strike this fall.
Nations have been invited today to adopt the program of follow-up, testing and isolation or to suffer the consequences of the new murderous wave.
The warning comes just as the UK is giving up on efforts to develop its own contact finder app.
Dr. Hans Kluge, European Regional Director for WHO, said: “It is quite possible that when autumn begins and we also have seasonal flu there may be the possibility of a seasonal effect on the virus – but we are not sure yet – we will see a second wave.
“So the lesson is that we have to implement what we know to work – at the heart of the strategy is to find, isolate, test suspected Covid people as soon as possible, and if necessary treat them without stigma or discrimination .