The UK is one of the worst hit countries in Europe with infections surpassing 400,000 while deaths have reached 42,268. Scientists around the world haven been working to find a vaccine for the deadly virus.
But now, scientists working on the Oxford vaccine are hoping it will be approved by regulators before the start of next year.
Some health officials have estimated every adult could receive a dose of the vital vaccine within six months.
Government sources have also said they expect a full programme – which would exclude children – could take six months or less after approval.
A source told the Times: “We are looking at closer to six months and it is likely to be far shorter than that.”
COVID vaccine to be rolled out within three months
The vaccine has been developed by Oxford Uni
The vaccine developed by Oxford University alongside pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca is the most advanced of those backed by Britain.
Since April, human trials have been ongoing and there are hopes it could be approved by regulators by Christmas.
Pascal Soriot, boss of the British drugs group, said: “Then, of course, it depends on how fast the regulator will review and give approval.
“So we could still have a vaccine by the end of this year or maybe early next year.”
Scientists working to find a vaccine for the virus
It is believed care home residents and staff will be the first to receive the vaccine, followed by those over the age of 80 and NHS staff.
Under the protocol developed by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, it will then be given to all over 65s.
High risk younger adults will receive the vaccine next, with people over 50 next in line.
Younger adults are believed to be at the back of the queue.
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UK coronavirus cases mapped
Ministers are planning to change the law to allow a vaccination programme to begin before the end of the year after ordering 100 million doses of the Oxford vaccine already.
Although a hopeful sign, before it can be rolled out, it will need to be approved by UK regulators and may also need the approval of the European Medicines Agency.
However, Nilay Shah, head of the department of chemical engineering at Imperial College London, warned just because there is a vaccine does not mean everyone will be vaccinated within a month.
He said: “Even when the vaccine is available it doesn’t mean within a month everybody is going to be vaccinated.
Vaccine could be rolled out within three months
“We’re talking about six months, nine months… a year.
“There’s not a question of life suddenly returning to normal in March.”
The Department of Health disputed Mr Shah’s comments saying: “This study fails to reflect the enormous amount of planning and preparation that has taken place across government to quickly roll out a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.
“We are confident we have adequate provision or transport, PPE and logistical expertise to deploy a COVID-19 vaccine across the country as quickly as possible.”
On a global scale, more than 34,000,000 people have been infected with the virus and deaths have surpassed one million.
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India now has the highest daily infection rate
7.50am update: India now has highest rate of daily infections
Total deaths rose to 100,842, the health ministry said, while the tally of infections climbed to 6.47 million after a daily increase in cases of 79,476.
India now has the highest rate of daily increase in infections in the world.
“We have seen some recent slowdown of the virus curve but this may be a local peak, there may be another coming,” said Bhramar Mukherjee, a professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at the University of Michigan.
“So it will continue like a slow burning coil, that is my hope, and we have to play the long game to stop it from being a wildfire.”