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COVID-19 vaccine in pipeline for healthcare staff and most vulnerable says NHS chief

If ready before Christmas, some nurses could receive it in early 2021

If ready before Christmas, the majority of those eligible including health and social care staff and the most vulnerable would receive the vaccine in early 2021, says Sir Simon Stevens

Preparations for the delivery of a COVID-19 vaccine to the public and healthcare staff are underway, a press conference confirmed today.

WATCH LIVE: NHS press conference on #coronavirus Sir Simon Stevens, NHS Chief Executive Professor Stephen Powis, NHS National Medical Director Dr Alison Pittard, Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine and Dean, Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine https://t.co/PQ63KQG7Uu

NHS England and

If ready before Christmas, the majority of those eligible – including health and social care staff and the most vulnerable – would receive the vaccine in early 2021, says Sir Simon Stevens

Left to right: Dr Alison Pittard, consultant in intensive care medicine and dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine; NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens; and Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England’s national medical director
Left to right: Alison Pittard, consultant in intensive care medicine and dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine; NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens; and NHS England national medical director Stephen Powis

Preparations for the delivery of a COVID-19 vaccine to the public and healthcare staff are underway, a press conference confirmed today.

NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens told the media that while no COVID-19 vaccine was expected to be ready before the end of the year, preparations were being made just in case.

COVID-19 vaccine unlikely to become available before Christmas

‘We expect that given there are more than 200 vaccines in development, at some point in the first part of next year would be when some of those vaccines will be available to us,’ he said.

‘But we want to be ready just in case they become available this side of Christmas, so we’ve reached agreement with GPs and this week will be writing to every practice to set out the way in which they will play their part in getting coronavirus vaccines to patients as and when it becomes available for the NHS.’

However, even if a vaccine were to become available as early as Christmas, Sir Simon said the majority of those eligible for it would be receiving it in early 2021.

‘The truth is that under just about under foreseeable circumstance, the vast bulk of vaccination is going to occur in the first part of next year,’ he said.

Health and social care staff among those at front of the vaccine queue

Sir Simon said that vulnerable people and healthcare staff would be among those receiving the vaccine first.

‘Our working assumption is that the most vulnerable, the elderly, people living in care homes, health and social care staff will be front of the queue, while others who are at high-risk will be in short order following them,’ he said.

‘Potentially then followed by a much wider group.’

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