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Speed trumps efficacy in UK’s Covid vaccine rollouts, says adviser

Jonathan Van-Tam says less effective vaccine may be used if that is what is available

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A vaccine that potentially does not work as well as the Pfizer/BioNTech candidate is still likely to be given to people in the UK in the interests of saving lives at speed, government scientific advisers have said.

The UK has invested heavily in the Oxford/AstraZeneca potential vaccine, which is likely to reveal its first efficacy data this month. Pfizer and BioNTech have reported 90% efficacy in preventing people from becoming ill, but the UK will not get more than a small amount of that vaccine before next year. It could end up in the position of having more doses available of a vaccine with less efficacy.

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