'UK's most vulnerable could get vaccine by Christmas,' says head of task force

Updated: 18 October, 2020 10:54 IST | Agencies | London

Kate Bingam added that a vaccine is not 'a silver bullet' that will allow life to get back to normal overnight

Revellers carry on in East London as new restrictions on social gatherings are set to come into force. Pic/AFP
Revellers carry on in East London as new restrictions on social gatherings are set to come into force. Pic/AFP

There is some chance that a COVID-19 vaccine could be ready for the most vulnerable of the UK's population by Christmas, according to the head of the country's vaccine task force.

Chairwoman of the UK Vaccine Taskforce Kate Bingham, however, said that availability of the vaccine will not make things normal for everyone overnight.

She also said that while she was optimistic that a vaccine for COVID-19 will be found, it was "very unlikely" to be a single jab, suggesting that revaccination probably every few years might be needed.

Moreover, if the virus that causes COVID-19 mutates significantly, vaccine efforts might have to start from scratch. According to her, when a vaccine becomes available, everybody will not have access to it initially as the supply is expected to be limited.

Therefore, the UK government and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) would have to agree on who should be vaccinated and when. Earlier this month, Bingham told the Financial Times that those who believe that everyone in the population will be vaccinated as soon as a vaccine becomes available are nurturing a "misguided perception". "People keep talking about 'time to vaccinate the whole population', but that is misguided," Bingham was quoted as saying.

Pak imposes fine on Qatar Airways for violating SOPs

The Pakistan government has imposed a 1,00,000 PKR fine on Qatar Airways for violating the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) enforced against the pandemic. Aviation Division spokesman Abdul Sattar Khokhar said the government had taken serious notice of the violation. The airline shall also be responsible for all expenses incurred on testing and quarantine of the passengers, he added.

Chinese city tests 11 mn residents after COVID-19 cluster detected

Chinese coastal city Qingdao on Friday completed testing of all its 11 million residents after a new COVID-19 cluster was detected at a hospital due to improper disinfection, a senior local official said. Xue Qingguo, Qingdao's deputy mayor, on Friday told media that over 10.16 million of the collected samples had been tested, and results showed no new positive cases.

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First Published: 18 October, 2020 11:00 IST

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