According to newly-published preliminary analysis, one of the most advanced potential Covid-19 vaccines – developed by Pfizer and BioNTech – has demonstrated hugely significant results, protecting a potential 90% of those administered the vaccine candidate.
So far, the vaccine has been tested on 43,500 people across six countries.
No safety concerns have been raised during the vaccine trial to date, with plans reportedly being put in place by the vaccine manufacturers to apply for emergency approval to use the vaccine by the end of the month.
While the announcement is based around preliminary analysis, and there still remains significant challenges ahead both scientifically and logistically, but the news has been warmly welcomed by the scientific community and medical experts.
The development of a successful vaccine, with none or minimal invasive side effects, is a critical step in the worldwide recovery from Covid-19.
News of a potentially effective vaccine not only offers real optimism of a return to some version of normal life in the not too distant future, but also a morale boost for the countless health professionals who’ve worked above and beyond throughout 2020 to support and treat those most ill with the virus.
An official spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “The results are promising and while we are optimistic of a breakthrough, we must remember there are no guarantees.
“We will know whether the vaccine is both safe and effective once the safety data has been published and only then can licensing authorities consider making it available to the public.
“In the meantime, the NHS stands ready to begin a vaccination programme for those most at risk once a Covid-19 vaccine is available before being rolled out more widely.
“In total, we’ve procured 40 million doses of the Pfizer candidate vaccine, with 10 million of those doses being manufactured and available to the UK by the end of the year if the vaccine is approved by the regulators.”
Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, added: “That such progress has been made in developing a vaccine for Covid-19 is positive news. A safe and effective vaccine would be a vital tool in allowing people to start living more normally again, preventing people from becoming sick and ultimately saving lives.
“These preliminary results sound encouraging. Moving forward it will be vital to be transparent around the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine to build trust amongst healthcare professionals and patients in order to ensure high uptake, particularly amongst vulnerable groups.
“GPs and our teams across the UK are hugely experienced in delivering vaccination programmes with high uptake rates. As long as our service is properly resourced, it makes sense for general practice to play a central role in delivering the Covid-19 vaccine.
"“Today’s news is certainly a step in the right direction.
"The RCGP is keen to work with Governments across the UK, as well as colleagues at the General Practitioners Committee of the BMA, to ensure any vaccination programme is safely and effectively rolled out, whilst ensuring routine patient care continues."