High Peak MP hails vaccine breakthroughs as light at the end of the Covid tunnel

Beating the spread of coronavirus was always going to be a long journey for us all.

As we make our way through the third week of the new restrictions, it is worth pausing to look ahead and remind ourselves that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The best way to stop the virus in its tracks is a vaccine.

Last week we got the exciting news that the interim results of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine suggest it is proving more than 90 per cent effective at protecting people against the virus.

Robert Largan, MP for High Peak

It has been tested on more 40,000 volunteers, but there are no guarantees and rigorous safety checks are still needed.

In the meantime, the Government has been planning ahead, securing a huge share of the world’s vaccine supply, including 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

That is enough for a third of the population (since you need two doses per person).

The Government has also secured access to five million doses of Moderna’s promising vaccine, following its initial data showing that it is almost 95 per cent effective, that could be delivered as early as spring 2021.

That puts the UK at the front of the international pack on a per capita basis with more than 355 million doses ordered from seven different vaccine candidates.

Once an effective and safe vaccine has been approved, the Government will begin an NHS-led programme of vaccine distribution across the UK, starting with those most at risk.

This week, we also got the exciting news that a second vaccine is shown to be effective.

These breakthroughs are impressive and show the vital importance of research and development to saving lives.

While we wait for a vaccine, the Government has already announced a rollout of 600,000 rapid-turnaround tests across England.

This will help us to detect the virus quicker than ever before, including people who do not have symptoms.

Mass testing will be a vital tool in the months ahead.

There is real hope on the horizon, but we must maintain our resolve in the national effort against the virus and continue to do our bit by staying at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

Robert Largan is MP for High Peak.