The UK is one of the worst affected countries in Europe with infections exceeding 400,000 as deaths have reached 42,268. Scientists around the world have been working to find a vaccine for the deadly virus.
Government sources also said they predicted that a full program – which would exclude children – could take six months or less after approval.
A source told The Times: “We’re looking at over six months and it’s likely to be a lot shorter than that.”
The vaccine developed by the University of Oxford alongside pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca is the most advanced of those backed by Great Britain.
Since April, human trials have been underway and there are hopes that it could be approved by regulators by Christmas.
Pascal Soriot, boss of the British anti-drug group, said: “Then, of course, it depends on how quickly the regulator will review and give its approval.
“So we could still have a vaccine by the end of this year or maybe early next year.”
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Ministers plan to change the law to allow a vaccination program to begin before the end of the year after they have already ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford vaccine.
Although this is a promising sign, before it can be deployed it will need to be approved by UK regulators and may also require approval from the European Medicines Agency.
However, Nilay Shah, head of the chemical engineering department at Imperial College London, warned that just because there is a vaccine does not mean everyone will be vaccinated within a month.
He said: “Even when the vaccine is available, it does not mean that everyone will be vaccinated within a month.
“We’re talking about six months, nine months… a year.
“There is no way life will suddenly return to normal in March.”
The Department of Health disputed Mr. Shah’s comments, saying, “This study does not reflect the enormous amount of planning and preparation that has taken place across the government to rapidly deploy a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. .
“We are confident that we have the right supply or transport, PPE and logistical expertise to deploy a COVID-19 vaccine across the country as quickly as possible.”
Globally, more than 34 million people have been infected with the virus and deaths have exceeded one million.
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8:40 a.m. update: Faith groups invited to participate in song study
Faith communities are invited to participate in a study on how singing plays a role in the spread of the coronavirus.
Participants will be asked to sing at different volumes and lasers will be used to detect and measure the droplets they produce, the BBC reported.
Researchers will then examine how many droplets are blocked by different types of facial covering.
7:50 am update: India now has highest rate of daily infections
The total number of deaths rose to 100,842, the health ministry said, while the number of infections climbed to 6.47 million after a daily increase in cases of 79,476.
India now has the highest daily rate of increase in infections in the world.
“We have seen a recent slowdown in the curve of the virus, but it may be a local peak, there may be another one to come,” said Bhramar Mukherjee, professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at the University of Michigan.
“So this will continue as a slow burning coil, that’s my hope, and we have to play the long game to keep it from being a wildfire. “