Britons would not be required to take a coronavirus vaccine if a successful one was to be developed, the Government has hinted. Health Secretary Matt Hancock stressed that a vaccine would only be recommended if it was clinically safe. Professor Robin Shattock, the leading scientist of the Imperial College London trials, spoke to Express.co.uk about why this was the best approach for the country.
He said: “I’m not a fan of mandatory vaccinations because I think it can also be self-defeating.
“We would hope that most people would want to get the vaccine.
“But I don’t think people should be forced to get it.
“If you think of what’s paralysing the economy, one of the aspects is the National Health System.”
Professor Shattock continued: “If we vaccinated the majority of the workers in the NHS and in care homes, that would mean that the NHS would be able to continue to function.
“That’s probably the priority, and would need to vaccinate around 2.5 million people, which is really very achievable.
“You can imagine that if everybody working in a care home was immune to the virus, then the virus wouldn’t get into the care home and potentially infect the elderly residents.
“So that would be very effective.”
The scientist added: “Targeting people who are vulnerable would also be a way of prioritising the vaccine.
“So while getting everybody vaccinated would be good, there could be a very significant impact by getting vaccine out and used in a prioritised fashion.
“This would have maximal impact as fast as possible.”
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Chief knowledge officer of Public Health England, Professor John Newton has previously said the most successful vaccine programmes tend to be by consent.
He added that what really matters is clear explanation of the benefits and risks that are associated with the vaccine and a really good system to make the vaccine available to everybody who needs it.
A coronavirus vaccine could possibly be available by Autumn, according to Oxford University trial leader, Sir John Bell.
When asked by what time he thought the entire British population would be vaccinated, Sir John said Christmas.
Many experts initially predicted the process of starting vaccinations wouldn’t begin until spring 2021.
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