Lockdown-sick Brits can expect to be out of the pandemic as soon as Spring, Matt Hancock claimed today.
News of a crucial vaccine breakthrough has boosted hopes of a return to normality within a matter of months.
The Oxford vaccine was signed off by regulators as being safe and effective – with rollout now set to start for the most vulnerable from next week.
Downing Street has ordered 100 million doses of the jab – enough for 50 million inoculations – which will be carried out on top of the Pfizer medicine already approved.
The game-changing jab approved today has been hailed as a clear path out of the pandemic.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock declared on BBC News: "I’m also now with this approval this morning highly confident that we can get enough vulnerable people vaccinated by the Spring that we can now see our route out of this pandemic.
"We also know all of us now that there’s a route out of this and the vaccine provides that route out, we’ve just got to all hold our nerve over the weeks to come until the vaccine can make us all safe."
Asked if that would happen by Spring he replied: "It will be by the Spring, and we can say that now with confidence, that we’ll be able to get out of this by the Spring."
Oxford vaccine approved for the UK as jab to be rolled out to millions next week
Brits face weeks of tough measures as the vaccine is rolled out amid spiralling cases of a mutated, highly infectious, strain of the disease.
Hospital numbers and infection rates are rising to numbers similar to the peak in April as several hospitals struggle to deal with patients.
One major Essex facility declared a major incident overnight as it was overwhelmed with Covid-19 cases.
And despite the breakthrough, around 15 million more Brits are expected to be plunged into Tier Four within days.
Meanwhile, the full reopening of schools could also be delayed following conversations in Downing Street.
But the Oxford jab represents a turning point for the Government as it is both cheap and easy to store, making it easier to roll-out than Pfizer.
The jab can be kept at fridge temperature and will be far less challenging to distribute to GP surgeries and care homes, who will be among the first to receive the medicine.
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