But that doesn’t mean an immediate return to life as we knew it before the pandemic, he said.
Professor Shattock told The Independent: “I plan to distribute a vaccine to vulnerable populations during the first half of next year, and with the potential payoff over the summer that we have seen this year – with declining incidences – that we will start to see life return to normal in the summer of next year. ”
He said vaccinating high-risk groups, including healthcare workers and the elderly, “would be a game-changer,” but added: “It wouldn’t mean that everything is gone, but it would provide an opportunity. to start to get out of this situation. “
Professor Shattock said he expected the first vaccines to be available soon after Christmas, but said it would not be rolled out to the general population immediately.
“It’s a bit like looking into a crystal ball,” he said.
Earlier, Sir Jeremy Farrar, chairman of the Wellcome Trust and a member of the government SAGE committee, said a breakthrough “will build confidence and confidence in the direction of the pandemic”.
Speaking in his personal capacity, Sir Jeremy told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “We will know before the end of the year the first vaccines which are currently in late clinical trials”, adding: “I believe that more than one of these vaccines will be shown to be effective and safe. ”
He explained: “They may not be perfect, we have gotten used to perfecting vaccines, but in general these early vaccines are not perfect but they are safe and effective and they will change the nature of the pandemic.
“They will, I believe, build confidence and a sense of confidence in the direction of the pandemic. They will hopefully prevent more people from getting seriously ill and they can also harm the transmission itself, so they will have a big impact. ”
Several vaccines, including one in development by the University of Oxford, are known to be in the final stages of testing in volunteers before they can be approved for general use.
Earlier this week, it was suggested that people may need booster shots, after a study found levels of antibodies to Covid-19 can drop quickly.
Results from the real-time assessment of community transmission (React) suggested that immunity “wanes quite quickly”, which could lead to an increased risk of re-infection.
Professor Paul Elliott, director of the React program, told BBC Radio 4: “People may need booster shots.
“For some viruses there is lifelong immunity, for coronaviruses it doesn’t seem to be and we know immunity can fluctuate so, yes that’s something that needs to be looked at very carefully. “