BBC Question time: Matt Hancock breaks silence on coronavirus vaccine setbacks | UK | News
The health secretary warned the breakthrough Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine needs to be kept at a very cold temperature, restricting possible administration points to those with the necessary facilities. He made the confession during an appearance on the BBC’s Question Time show on Thursday evening.
Question Time host Fiona Bruce asked: “This is complicated isn’t it because you need these super freezers, that keep it at minus 70 degrees.
“The Scottish Government has already brought some of these super freezers.
“Are you going to be able to pull this off?”
In response Mr Hancock replied: “Yes.
“The UK Government is buying this vaccine and the other vaccines, and it’s important in our portfolio we have several, and we’re buying them for the whole UK.
“Then the NHS in each country; in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, is responsible for the deployment. It is a challenge, it is incredibly difficult.”
On Monday Pfizer said preliminary tests show the vaccine they have been producing with BioNTech successfully protects 90 percent of people from catching coronavirus.
Global stock markets surged on the news which could offer hopes of a return to something like normality in 2021.
READ MORE: Will the coronavirus vaccine be safe? Vaccine myths debunked
The Government has signed deals to buy a number of different vaccines to maximise the chances one is effective.
A separate vaccine being developed by Oxford University, which is much cheaper than the Pfizer option, is currently undergoing tests.
Speaking on Monday Dr Albert Bourla, chief executive of Pfizer, said: “Today is a great day for science and humanity. The first set of results from our phase 3 Covid-19 vaccine trial provides the initial evidence of our vaccine’s ability to prevent Covid-19.
“We are reaching this critical milestone in our vaccine development programme at a time when the world needs it most with infection rates setting new records, hospitals nearing over-capacity and economies struggling to reopen.”
Speaking to the BBC John Bell, Regius professor of medicine at Oxford University, said the vaccine appears to offer “an amazing level of efficacy”.
However other experts have said they will reserve judgement until more data from the tests is released by Pfizer.
Boris Johnson welcomed the vaccine news but warned Britons not to reduce their vigilance.
He explained the vaccine has “cleared one significant hurdle but there are several more to go”.
The Prime Minister added: “The biggest mistake we could make now would be to slacken our resolve at a critical moment.
“This is a very important scientific breakthrough. I am certain of that.”