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COVID-19 vaccine will be optional in Britain

COVID-19 vaccine will be optional in Britain

File photo of a woman holding a small bottle labelled with a Vaccine COVID-19 sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken Apr 10, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Dado Ruvic)

LONDON: People in Britain will be able to decide whether they want to have the COVID-19 vaccine or not, health minister Matt Hancock said on Tuesday (Nov 10), adding that children do not need to be vaccinated.

"We're not proposing to make this compulsory, not least because I think the vast majority people are going to want to have it," Hancock told BBC TV on Tuesday.

"This is not for children and children have a very low susceptibility to coronavirus," he added. 

HEALTH SERVICE TO BE READY FOR VACCINE BY DECEMBER

The British government has asked the National Health Service to be ready to deploy any COVID-19 vaccine from the start of December. The vaccine will then be rolled out, starting with the most vulnerable, Hancock said on Tuesday.

READ: Pfizer says early data signals COVID-19 vaccine is 90% effective

READ: Germany expects COVID-19 vaccine in first quarter 2021 at the earliest

The health minister told Sky News that there were many hurdles still to clear and the government would not deploy the shot until it was confident in its clinical safety.

News on Monday that a vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech was more than 90 per cent effective sparked a surge in financial markets around the world, a rare piece of good news in the fight against a disease that has killed more than a million people.

Britain expects to have 10 million doses of the vaccine available by the end of the year.

"I've asked them (the NHS) to be ready from the start of December," he said.

"Of course there are many hurdles that need to be gone over and we haven't seen the full safety data and obviously that is critical and we won't deploy a vaccine unless we can be confident in its clinical safety."

He added that he did not know when there would be an update on the trial results of a vaccine being produced by Oxford University and AstraZeneca.

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Source: Reuters/ic

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