The Oxford University vaccine could see Britain achieve herd immunity by the summer, according to a leading scientist.
Professor Calum Semple, a respiratory disease expert and member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), said the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is a “game changer” in the battle against coronavirus ahead of it’s potential approval in the coming days.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Prof Semple said: “Obviously there is an urgency about this and we know that it is difficult to vaccinate lots of people at the same time – we’ve got a population of just under 70 million people and we’re going to move through them in an orderly fashion vaccinating people most at risk.
“The people that have been vaccinated will be protected within a matter of weeks and that’s very important.
“On an individual basis these vaccines are so good that they will protect individuals, so we don’t have to wait for this nonsense about herd immunity developing through natural infection, we can start to protect the individuals.
“To get the wider community herd immunity from vaccination rather than through natural infection will take probably 70% to 80% of the population to be vaccinated, and that, I’m afraid, is going to take us right into the summer I expect.”
A Government source has said that a vaccine army of “tens of thousands” of medics and volunteers have been recruited and are ready to administer millions of jabs each week from next month.