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Healthcare professionals working on the frontline could be the first to receive a vaccine in just a matter of weeks.
According to the Mail on Sunday, an internal email sent to staff at an NHS Trust said preparations have already begun for a mass roll-out of the vaccine across the health service.
Glen Burley, chief executive of George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust in Warwickshire, wrote, “Our Trust, alongside NHS organisations nationally, has been told to be prepared to start a Covid-19 staff vaccine programme in early December.
“The latest intelligence states a coronavirus vaccine should be available this year with NHS staff prioritised prior to Christmas.”
He added that the vaccine is expected to be given in two doses, 28 days apart, and will be available to those who have had the flu jab this year.
The Mail on Sunday also reports that another NHS Trust chief executive Diane Wake has told staff she hopes the jab will be available in December. In a recent board meeting of the Dudley Group NHS Trust, she said, “I’m hoping for a Covid-19 vaccine to be available to healthcare providers some time in December. It has not been confirmed yet but I’m hoping to be able to offer a Covid-19 vaccine to our staff.”
It’s believed the vaccine planned for the NHS is the one being developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, as it’s currently undergoing the third and final stage of clinical trials and has previously shown to have a “robust immune response” and no serious side-effects.
Reports suggest the Government plans to administer the jab to healthcare workers first and then vulnerable groups, including the over 80s.
According to The Independent, NHS England said it did not have any further comment beyond the quotes from the Trust bosses.
If the vaccine programme starts in December with NHS workers, it could pave the way for Boris Johnson to relax strict social restrictions which have been in place since March.