Prince William calls Oxford vaccine researchers to thank them after Covid jab revealed to be '90% effective'
PRINCE William today called Oxford vaccine researchers to thank them for after jab revealed to be '90% effective'.
The Duke of Cambridge said he was "thrilled" the researchers had "cracked it" after months of work in the fight against coronavirus.
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During the call, William said it was an "amazing achievement", adding: "Well done, I'm so pleased for all of you, I really am.
"I saw it in everyone's faces back in June how much time and effort was going into this, and I could see that there was a lot of pressure on everyone, so I'm so thrilled that you've cracked it – so really well done."
Experts have praised the vaccine, saying it will "hail the beginning of the end of the pandemic".
So far more than 55,000 people in the UK have been killed by the deadly bug while more than 1,512,000 people have tested positive.
The UK is currently in lockdown until December 2 as authorities try to keep the virus from spreading – with the country then expected to go into regional Tiers ahead of Christmas.
But hopes have been pinned on a vaccine to stop the spread of Covid – with the latest vaccine news now giving light at the end of the tunnel.
The Oxford/AstraZeneca jab – which is cheaper and easier to store than Pfizer and Moderna's has been found to be up to 90 per cent effective.
And the 38-year-old royal beamed as he chatted to those who had been instrumental in developing the vaccine, including Professor Andy Pollard, Professor of Paediatric Infection and Immunity, Professor Sarah Gilbert, Professor of Vaccinology, and Professor Louise Richardson, Vice Chancellor of Oxford University.
Speaking to the future king, the experts said the vaccine was based on decades of research – and would be "transformational" in the next six months in the fight against Covid.
Professor Sarah Gilbert told William: "We wanted a vaccine for the world, not just for high income countries, not just for this country."
The video call comes after Prince William visited The University of Oxford’s Oxford Vaccine Group in June.
Britain has pre-ordered 100 million doses of the jab – which is expected to cost just £2 a time and can be stored at standard temperatures – with four million ready to be rolled out as soon as it gets regulatory approval.
Late-stage findings, published today, showed the vaccine is 90 per cent effective when it's first given as a half dose, then followed by a full dose a month later.
It’s not clear why, but the team think it could be that a smaller dose may be a better way of kicking the immune system into action.
It means those initial four million jabs could be used to give eight million people their first dose by the end of the year, if approved by regulators.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) would now assess if the 90 per cent effectiveness dosing regime could be used.
He told BBC Breakfast: "I'm really very pleased, I really welcome these figures – this data that shows that the vaccine in the right dosage can be up to 90 per cent effective.
"If this all goes well in the next couple of weeks, then we are looking at the potential of starting the vaccination programme next month for this Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine as well as the Pfizer vaccine.
"But in all cases the bulk of the rollout will be in the new year. We are looking with high confidence now that after Easter things can really start to get back to normal", he added.
Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, department of paediatrics at the University of Oxford, hailed today as "a very exciting day".
He said: "We have a vaccine for the world, because we've got a vaccine which is highly effective – it prevents severe disease and hospitalisation."
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