Coronavirus UK Updates: Approval of the Oxford-AstraZenca vaccine will help speed up crucial vaccination in care homes

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Approval of the Oxford-AstraZenca vaccine will help speed up crucial vaccination in care homes, an expert said today.

The Telegraph has exclusively revealed that the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency will authorise the vaccine on Dec 28 or 29 after final data is provided to the regulator on Monday.

This morning Prof Martin Marshall, the chair of the Royal College of GPs, said that would boost the rollout of the coronavirus vaccination programme in care homes. “At the moment we are dealing with this Pfizer vaccine, which is difficult,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

“On the assumption that we are going to get approval for the AstraZeneca vaccine which is much more familiar because it is much more like the flu vaccination, then I think we will be able to roll out at a much faster pace, but certainly over the next few weeks and next couple of months we expect all care homes to be covered.”

Meanwhile, Jeremy Hunt, the former health secretary, told the programme: “It will make a massive difference because the doses that we have of the Pfizer vaccine will keep us going until the end of January and I think we’re not getting another shipment until March.

“So if we could have that Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine ready to go in January then we could keep the roll-out going at its current pace.”

News of the vaccine boost comes as it emerged tougher coronavirus restrictions could be announced as early as today after an initial analysis of a new variant of the virus in England suggested it is “growing faster than the existing variants”.

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