Fantastic news this morning as the NHS announced an imminent new coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said vaccination clinics would be open seven days a week and centres set up in places such as sports halls. However, it is not clear yet how many people will need to be vaccinated and who will receive the vaccine first before life can return to normal.

On Monday, early results from the world’s first effective coronavirus vaccine showed it could prevent more than 90% of people from getting COVID-19, a preliminary analysis shows.

The vaccine has been developed by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech, and is one of 11 vaccines that are currently in the final stages of testing. The vaccine has been tested on 43,500 people in six countries and no safety concerns have been raised. Hot on its heals is the vaccine being developed by Oxford University in collaboration with AstraZeneca, whose phase III study is expected to report in the next 3 weeks.

The companies plan to apply for emergency approval to use the vaccine by the end of the month. The development of this vaccine has been the fastest in history. However, there are still a number of challenges ahead, such as length of protection from the virus and who should receive the vaccine first. But the announcement has been warmly welcomed and some scientists are suggesting life could be back to normal by spring.

“I am probably the first guy to say that, but I will say that with some confidence,” said Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at Oxford University.

Read the BBC article here and the BBC interview with Matt Hancock here

Read the Government response here

Read the PharmaTimes article here

Read the article in The Lancet here warning of the challenges ahead