The UK government has secured access to three different types of COVID-19 vaccines that are currently being developed.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma has made an agreement with pharmaceutical and vaccine companies BioNTech/Pfizer and Valneva which are working round the clock on producing a coronavirus vaccine.
Mr Sharma said: “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.
“This new partnership with some of the world’s foremost pharmaceutical and vaccine companies will ensure the UK has the best chance possible of securing a vaccine that protects those most at risk.
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Access to a vaccine that triggers a COVID-19 immune response, currently being developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, has also been secured.
Around 90 million doses have been secured and it is hoped that once these vaccines are proven to work and are safe, there will be enough for priority groups, frontline health works and those who at increased health risk across England, Scotland and Wales.
The government has also launched a new online registry which will give people who would like to participate in a future vaccine study to sign up. it is hoped the NHS COVID-19 vaccine research registry will attract 50,000 people by October.
Mr Sharma added: “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.”
Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) head said: “Thanks to COVID-19 patients’ willingness to take part in treatment studies, we’ve been able to identify treatments that work and ones that don’t, which has improved patient care world-wide.
“Now that there are several promising vaccines on the horizon, we need to call again on the generosity of the public to help find out which potential vaccines are the most effective.
“Using a new NHS website developed in partnership between the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and NHS Digital, people across the UK can register their interest to be approached to join a vaccine study. Please go to the website and consider volunteering.”
The government has also today launched the NHS COVID-19 vaccine research registry. This new website will enable people in the UK to play their part by volunteering for future vaccine studies.
The government has also secured access to treatments containing COVID-19-neutralising antibodies from AstraZeneca to protect those who cannot receive vaccines such as cancer and immunocompromised patients.