UK follows US lead, secures 90 million doses of potential cornavirus vaccines
London, July 20, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Britain has secured access to 90 million doses of potential coronavirus vaccines in deals with biotech firms BioNTech, Pfizer and Valneva, the government said Monday.
UK announcement follows a similar lead fromthe Trump administration that recently bought up virtually all the stocks for the next three months of one of the two drugs proven to work against Covid-19, leaving none for the rest of the world.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said Britain would now have access to three different types of vaccines being developed domestically and around the world, and it had also launched a website for volunteers to sign up for vaccine studies.
“The hunt to find a vaccine is a truly global endeavour and we are doing everything we can to ensure the British public get access to a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine as soon as possible,” said Sharma.
“The public can also play their part in vaccine research through the new NHS vaccine research register. By signing up and participating in important clinical studies, together we can speed up the search for a vaccine and end the pandemic sooner.”
The deals involve 30 million doses of a vaccine being developed by BioNTech and German firm Pfizer, and 60 million doses of another created by France’s Valneva.
The government has already said it would purchase 100 million doses of a vaccine currently being trialed by Oxford University in partnership with AstraZeneca.
Britain has been one of the worst affected countries in the world since the outbreak began, suffering more than 45,000 deaths.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said an effective vaccine was “our best hope of defeating coronavirus and returning to life as normal.
“I urge everyone who can to back the national effort and sign up to the NHS COVID-19 vaccine research registry to help find a vaccine as soon as possible.”
Chair of the Vaccine Taskforce Kate Bingham said: “The Vaccine Taskforce is investing in a diverse portfolio of vaccine candidates to maximise the chances of finding a vaccine quickly that meets the UK’s rigorous regulatory and safety standards. The fact that we have so many promising candidates already shows the unprecedented pace at which we are moving. But I urge against being complacent or over optimistic. The fact remains we may never get a vaccine and if we do get one, we have to be prepared that it may not be a vaccine which prevents getting the virus, but rather one that reduces symptoms.” AFP