This is how long experts say it could take to vaccinate the UK population against Covid

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
As GP vaccinations begin rolling out across the Lancashire, experts have revealed how long it could take before the whole country is protected against coronavirus.

Scientists have said it would take almost a year to vaccinate the entire UK population against Covid-19, even with no interruptions in vaccine supply.

Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), which advises ministers, said the rapid development of vaccines in response to the Covid-19 pandemic was a “remarkable achievement”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But together with Professor Tim Cook, a consultant in anaesthesia and intensive care medicine from the University of Bristol, Sir Jeremy warned there was still a long way to go.

Experts say it would take almost a year to vaccinate the entire UK population against Covid-19.Experts say it would take almost a year to vaccinate the entire UK population against Covid-19.
Experts say it would take almost a year to vaccinate the entire UK population against Covid-19.

Writing in the journal Anaesthesia, they said: “The scale of the vaccination programme should not be underestimated: 1,000 vaccination centres each vaccinating 500 people a day for five days a week, without interruptions of supply or delivery, would take almost a year to provide two doses to the UK population.

Read More
Lancashire and South Cumbria GPs begin offering Covid vaccine as part of biggest...

It is estimated that about 20% of the UK population may decline to receive the vaccine, but the authors say that if 80% of people have the jab “there would finally be the prospect of a degree of population (herd) immunity”.

This would “reduce virus transmission in the community to very low levels and protect both those who are vaccinated and those who are not.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“In contrast to population immunity following natural infection, this would be achieved without the cost of an estimated half a million UK deaths.”

The authors said it may be that early vaccines work on preventing serious illness or coronavirus taking hold in an individual, rather than preventing people passing the virus on.

“Vaccine success may be through stopping an infection becoming established in an individual (disease prevention); stopping progression to severe disease in infected individuals (disease attenuation); or preventing onward transfer of disease (sterilising immunity),” they said.

“Whether all three of these goals will be met by ‘first generation’ vaccines is not known, but is vital to the long-term success of the programme.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Sterilising immunity is particularly important as it is epidemic modifying.

“However, it may require nasally administered vaccines or adjuncts. From pre-clinical studies, it is possible that the first vaccines, likely to be released in late 2020, may be more effective in preventing disease progression and hospitalisation and less effective in preventing transmission.”

They said gathering ongoing data as vaccines are used will mean that “improved second and third generation vaccines may be available later in 2021 and beyond”.

However, they warned that vaccines will not be “a final solution to Covid-19”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

They said: “This is now a human endemic infection, which will not disappear, and like all infectious diseases, we will need to learn to mitigate its impact through adapting our behaviour and access to diagnostics, treatments and vaccines. “

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.