Matt Hancock to give Downing Street press conference tonight on vaccine update

MATT Hancock is set to give a Downing Street press conference tonight to give an update on the race for a coronavirus vaccine.

The Health Secretary revealed this morning the crucial storage facilities for the Pfizer vaccine – which must be kept at a freezing minus 70 degrees – were already in place and a jab could be just weeks away.

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Mr Hancock is expected to address the nation at 5pm this evening.

As the race for vaccine heats up, with Pfizer, Moderna and Britain's own Astrazeneca jab all showing promising results.

More than 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine have already been manufactured, the boss of the pharma giant Albert Bourla said yesterday.

Mr Hancock said this morning: "We hope there is going to be a program of Covid vaccinations.

"We don't know for sure yet, however we have seen increasingly good news on the Covid vaccine front over the last two weeks."

He added that if one of the jabs is certified the mass roll out will likely come in the new year, with a small possibly available for Christmas.

Speaking on Sky News yesterday, the Pfizer chief Mr Bourla urged people to "be patient and soon this will all be over".

The Health Secretary also announced today a huge free flu vaccination program for anyone over aged over 50 to start on December 1.

He urged people to get vaccinated this winter, saying "if you get both flu and Covid that is really bad news".

England's deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said fighting the flu is essential to keep pressures off the NHS as it battles the coronavirus crisis.

He said: "Influenza vaccination is a critical tool this and every winter to prevent severe illnesses and potential hospitalisations for thousands of people."

Mr Hancock is expected to be quizzed on hopes for Christmas, as he lifted Brits' spirits by saying ministers were working to give people some festive joy.

He told BBC Radio 4: "We do hope over Christmas to agree a set of rules across the UK, because so many people travel around the UK, and that work is ongoing."

"But there will have to be rules in place, we just hope to be able to get something of the yearning people have to see their loved ones at Christmas and to have some of that joy that Christmas brings. But it has to be careful."


 

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