BRITS could get a coronavirus jab in weeks if a vaccine is approved by the health watchdog.
Local officials have claimed that NHS staff are ready to roll out the jab as soon as December 9 – once the jab is licensed.
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The UK has a “50/50 chance” of becoming the first country in the world to approve a Covid vaccine and NHS staff are set to be the first in line to be vaccinated.
Now local officials in Nottingham have said that they are "prepared" to deliver the vaccine by Wednesday 9 December.
The executive incident director at Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Sarah Carter this week laid out the time scale for vaccinations, NottinghamshireLive reported.
The CCG directs local services and Ms Carter highlighted what the roll out will look like.
"We are aiming to have everything in place by Tuesday December 1, as per the national steer, and we would aim to go live, we believe, by Wednesday December 9, and the whole system is poised to move this forward.
She added: "We’ve been working to prepare to deliver what will be, without doubt, the most unprecedented scale of vaccination programme that we’ve experienced."
Final safety data for the Pfizer jab, which offers 95 per cent protection, was given to regulators on Monday.
And officials are quietly confident the UK can pip the US and EU into getting the life-saving vaccine first.
A Government source said it is “very likely” Pfizer will be the earliest vaccine licensed by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
A government source last night said that it was "pretty close that we could get a decision next week".
The source added: “If so there’s a 50/50 chance we could be the first country in the world to app-rove a vaccine for roll out.”
However, the Pfizer jab has to be stored at -70C and can only be thawed in batches of 1,000 before immunisation — a logistical nightmare for the NHS.
It means it is unlikely to be used to treat care home residents — currently top of the provisional priority list — as doctors cannot vaccinate at the necessary scale.
Instead, health bosses want to roll it out from 53 hospital hubs to immunise frontline NHS staff first.
A health source said: “Health workers are a captive audience so it will be much quicker to get jabs in arms right from day one.”
They are gambling the Oxford-developed AstraZeneca jab, which can be stored in a normal fridge, will be approved just days later.
Officials expect it will form the backbone of mass community immunisation, with 19million doses available by the end of the year.
NHS boss Sir Simon Stevens has said the service is “ten out of ten” ready to roll out the “biggest vaccination campaign in our history”.
Earlier this week Health Secretary Matt Hancock said a roll-out of a Covid vaccine would signal that life could go back to "normal" by Easter, which falls on April 4 next year.
Appearing before a joint session of the Health and Social Care Committee and Science and Technology Committee today, Mr Hancock was asked whether he expects the country to go into another lockdown between now and spring.
He said: "No, I very much hope not to, by having a tiered system which is calibrated to be able to bring the virus under control, where that is necessary."
But he suggested that some habits encouraged during the pandemic, such as regular hand-washing, would continue.
He previously said that the vaccine programme will start at the beginning of December – if the jabs get the green safety light.
It will start with NHS staff, the vulnerable and the elderly, and make its way down through the age groups after that.
And it could mean people could get the flu jab and the coronavirus vaccine at the same time in the near future, he said.
He said the likely biggest rollout would take place in the New Year, but added: "We still hold out the hope we might get some going in December this year."
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