“I will be voting for the lock-down today to halt the rapid rise in infection rates though I would also have voted for an exemption for outdoor non-team sports such as tennis or golf if the lock-down order were amendable. Unfortunately, it is not amendable so the rules cannot be changed” says Michael Fabricant.
“Nevertheless, there is now a very clear light at the end of the dark Covid tunnel. And that light is a Covid vaccine and its gradual introduction is expected imminently.
“Work with the UK Vaccine Taskforce is now very advanced. They have secured orders for 350 million doses of different vaccines, across a range of vaccine types, including six of the leading vaccines across the world. These includes the Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, both of which are currently in the final stages of phase 3 trials and are nearing completion.
“300,000 people have now signed up to register their interest in taking part in vaccine trials including myself. The Taskforce is pioneering controlled human challenge studies which involves volunteers being deliberately infected with Covid 19 after they have been vaccinated. Subject to ethics and regulatory approvals, these trials can assess and accelerate the development of effective vaccines more quickly and with fewer participants than standard phase 3 trials.
“The Government has now funded several UK manufacturing sites to ensure there is no manufacturing bottleneck in developing a vaccine. This includes a £93 million investment to open the UK’s first dedicated Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre, 12 months ahead of schedule; and an additional £38 million for a virtual manufacturing centre, which already has two fully equipped and approved manufacturing suites. A further £100 million investment has been made to fund a state-of-the-art Manufacturing Innovation Centre to accelerate the mass production of a successful Covid-19 vaccine in the UK.
“The search for a vaccine is a global effort, and the UK has committed to ensuring that everyone at risk of Covid-19 infection anywhere in the world has access to a safe and effective vaccine. The Government has pledged up to £548 million to the international COVAX vaccine-purchasing initiative for lower and middle-income countries, as well as £71 million to secure access for the UK population.
“The logistics in vaccinating our population is immense. At first those most vulnerable to infection, including those working on the front line in the NHS, will be vaccinated. But as more and more of the population are vaccinated and become immune or less susceptible to Covid 19, we can all begin to return to a more normal life.”