Matt Hancock grilled by host on 'delay' of coronavirus vaccine
Louise Minchin, 52, was on hand to interview Matt Hancock, 42, on the day the Health Secretary is declaring “a pivotal” moment in the fight against coronavirus as the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine will begin being administered today. With one million people having been given the Pfizer vaccine, it is thought 530,000 doses of the Oxford jab will be distributed across the UK from today to speed up the process. However, with it looking more likely the first lot of vaccinations will be given by the end of April, the BBC Breakfast presenter asked the Government Minister if there was a problem causing a delay.
After quizzing her guest over how many people will receive the vaccine by the end of the week and how many more doses are being manufactured as they spoke, Minchin said: “What’s the delay?
“There is some indication there might not be enough glass vials. What’s the delay?” she asked again to which the Health Secretary tried to put the public’s minds at ease.
“No, there isn’t a delay,” Hancock declared, adding: “It’s a matter of getting the vaccine as soon as it’s manufactured.
“It then needs to go through the crucial safety checks, which are obviously very important, and get into the NHS and delivered into people’s arms.
“In fact, we’ve been able to accelerate that process because we now know that you get your protection after the first dose.”
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Hancock continued: “The second dose can wait until 12 weeks away – that means over the first few months of the programme, we can effectively vaccinate twice as many people.
“Obviously, that is very good news in terms of protecting people and saving people’s lives and getting us out of this pandemic and all the restrictions that we have to live with.”
Debunking Minchin’s questions about a delay once more, the Health Secretary added: “We’re accelerating the programme using the vaccine that is available and working very closely with the manufacturers to bring in as much of the vaccine as possible.
“And then the challenge on the NHS side, which is a big national effort, is to take that vaccine and get it delivered into people’s arms as quickly as feasibly possible using all the resources possible.”
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