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UK to get coronavirus vaccine as early as September if trials are successful

In this handout photo provided by 10 Downing Street, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson claps outside 11 Downing Street to salute local heroes during Thursday's nationwide Clap for Carers NHS initiative to applaud workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic, in London, Thursday, April 2, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (Pippa Fowles/The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.(Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street via AP)

UK would be the first to get access to a coronavirus vaccine if researchers at Oxford University successfully develop one, the Government has said.

Speaking at Sunday’s daily press briefing, the Business Secretary Aloka Sharma said that the university had reached an agreement with a pharmaceutical firm to distribute a vaccine to the UK first.

He also announced an additional £84m in government funding to help mass produce the Oxford vaccine.

He said that Oxford University had finalised a licencing agreement with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

The Business Secretary said: “This means that if the current vaccine trials are successful we have dosages to start vaccinating the UK population straight away.
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary Alok Sharma during a media briefing in Downing Street (Image: PA)

“If the vaccines are successful, AstraZeneca will work to make 30 million doses available by September for the UK as part of an agreement to deliver 100 million doses in total.

“The UK will be first to get access, and we will also ensure that, in addition to supporting people in the UK, we will also make the vaccine available to developing countries at the lowest possible cost.

“I’m very proud of how quickly our scientists and researchers have come together.

“Their work has meant two of the world’s front runners to develop a vaccine are right here in the UK, at the University of Oxford and Imperial College London.

“The first clinical trial of the Oxford vaccine is progressing well, with all phase one participants receiving their vaccine dose on schedule earlier this week.”
Professor Stephen Powis (left) and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary Alok Sharma (right) during a media briefing in Downing Street (Image: PA)

The announcement comes after new figures from NHS England revealed a further six people had died from the coronavirus across Merseyside and the surrounding region.

Further coronavirus deaths were reported in Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
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Nearby Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust also recorded one death, which was included in the regional data.

Another 111 people have died with coronavirus in UK hospitals, according to the latest government figures released today.
NHS nurses at the Royal Liverpool Hospital, in Merseyside, fall silent at 11am to remember the dozens of key workers who have lost their lives, during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.

Public Health England has revealed that conditions in A&E have begun to return to normal with the number of patients presenting with heart conditions recovering after falling considerably in March and April.

Speaking at today’s Downing Street press conference, NHS Medical Director, Professor Stephen Powis said: “We have been really concerned that a combination of worries about the virus, and not wanting to be a burden on NHS staff, has meant that some people haven’t come forward for care for themselves or their families when they would usually have done so – and we saw that in the record low number of A&E attendances last month.

“The majority of the reduced attendances were for lower risk conditions, so for example sprains were down by 80%, for alcohol intoxication by just under 60%, and finger wounds down by just under 50%. But we are also worried that within that reduction in attendances were people who should have come to A&E, and whose health might be put at risk by not doing so.

“But there is no room for complacency, and so we will continue to remind you that the NHS is there for you when you need it – expectant mums worried about the movement of their baby, anyone experiencing symptoms of a stroke, or parents of children with emergency asthma attacks – while at the same time we hospitals have in place infection control methods in their A&Es and acute wards that ensure that everybody can be treated safely.”

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