Matt Hancock, Health and Social Care Secretary recently spoke about the latest vaccine developments as well as what measures are being put into place to support the NHS with winter fast approaching.
Hancock thanked Baroness Harding and Tom Riordan who are leading the brand new NHS Test and Trace service. The plans that have been implemented by Public Health England, NHS Test and Trace as well as local authorities has already made a huge impact and insured the success of the national lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19.
At the end of July, the framework for containing and controlling future outbreaks in England was published and local authorities were given more power in their areas to be able to have more control over the response to outbreaks. They are now able to cancel events and shut public outdoor spaces.
Data will also be shared with local bodies as data is one of the best weapons the country has to fight the pandemic. The main source of this data is from high-quality testing. The high volumes of testing over the past few months have made all the difference in the quality and volume of data available. The goal is to have half a million antigen tests done per day across the nation by the end of October.
With the usual winter pressures that the NHS will face, and with the uncertainty of how the virus will interact with the cold weather, the NHS will be supplied with all the necessary support it needs, and 30 billion pieces of PPE will also be supplied to ensure the protection of patients and medical staff. The largest flu vaccination programme will be launched which will be the largest in the history of the UK.
A further £3 billion will be added to the £1.5 billion capital funding announced last month to ensure there are enough ventilators and all other vital medical equipment the NHS will need for the upcoming winter.
Hancock stated that the best solution would be to get a vaccine against the coronavirus. The British life science industry, Oxford and Imperial are both being supported by government and the first and second phases of the trials are proceeding well.
The results of the trials so far, indicate that the Oxford vaccine produces positive T-cell and antibody production giving patients a strong immunity. These vaccines could potentially save countless lives across the globe.
Hancock ended off by saying: “In this fight against the virus, our world-renowned universities, researchers and scientists are indispensable so we can develop the vaccines and treatments that will tackle this virus for the long term.”
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