In order to return to some sense of normality and to protect the most vulnerable in society from COVID-19, Governments across the world are pinning their hopes on a successful vaccine, which can be rolled out quickly and effectively.
Which vaccines have the UK Government already purchased and how successful are they?
The final data from the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine found it offers 95% protection against the virus within 28 days of the first dose and reassuringly, it also proved 94% effective among adults over the age of 65, who are generally more vulnerable to COVID-19
The downside to the vaccine is that during shipment and storage, the Pfizer vaccine must be kept at around -70C (-100F) to maintain optimal efficacy and it also has to be mixed with another liquid before it can be administered.
Pfizer has said that the price will be £15 ($20) a dose however this doesn’t include the expense of shipping and storage which will push the cost per dose far higher. Pfizer has guaranteed that the vaccine will be made not-for-profit for as long as the pandemic continues.
The UK Government has ordered enough doses to vaccinate 20 million people which is about a third of the UK population and is hopeful that 10 million of these doses will arrive before the end of this year, with those chosen to get the jab receiving two doses, 21 days apart; if it is approved by the medicines' regulator.
Moderna's results indicate 94.5% effectiveness but it said the trials are ongoing and the final number could change.
The Moderna vaccine has been shown to last for up to 30 days in household fridges, at room temperature for up to 12 hours, and remains stable at -20C - equal to most household or medical freezers - for up to six months.
The Moderna vaccine is the most expensive successful vaccine so far as Moderna are a commercial company so they have an interest in making profits. Currently Moderna are saying that the cost will be £28 ($38) a dose however due to easier distribution and storage costs, it is still cost competitive.
The UK has ordered five million doses of the Moderna vaccine which will be delivered by spring. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said this vaccine will not be available anywhere in Europe until then.
The Oxford trial found with two full doses, its vaccine was 62% effective, however when people were given a half dose followed by a full dose at least a month later its efficacy rose to 90%.
The Oxford vaccine requires the vaccine can be stored between 2C and 8C and protected from light so it can be distributed in refrigerated vans or cool boxes and be stored in standard vaccine fridges.
Priced at about £3 ($4) a dose, AstraZeneca has guaranteed that it will not sell it for a profit so it is available to all countries, no matter the size of their economy.
The UK government has spent £65.5 million on funding this vaccine and has reserved 100 million doses, with four million expected to be rolled out by the end of the year if it is approved by the medicines' regulator but the bulk of the Oxford vaccination will be administered in 2021.
Phase 3 trials are continuing however data from phrase 1 and 2 looks so successful that it has just received $2 billion from the U.S. government and a non-profit organization to develop and manufacture the vaccine. The UK Government has already ordered 60 million doses from the small US biotech company.
The UK can expect 60m doses of Valneva’s coronavirus vaccine if proven successful. The drug is currently in pre-clinical trials, so if far behind other vaccines being produced by other pharmaceutical companies.
The government has ordered 60m doses of a vaccine being produced by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Sanofi. The vaccine, which is currently in phase two clinical trials, is based on the same protein-based technology as one of Sanofi’s seasonal flu vaccines.
By pre-ordering and buying different vaccines, the UK Government is hopeful that whilst some measures such as handwashing will remain common place, with the help of some or all of these vaccines then the “damaging social distancing interventions” should hopefully be lifted after Easter.