Christopher Whiteside MBE is Conservative County Councillor for the Egremont North and St Bees Division of Cumbria County Council. The division includes St Bees, Bigrigg, Wood End, Moor Row, part of the Mirehouse area of Whitehaven, and surrounding countryside.
He is also deputy chair (political and campaigning) of the North-West region of the voluntary wing of the Conservative party.
Chris lives and works in Copeland with his wife and family.
Tuesday, November 10, 2020
The Vaccine trials
Yesterday, the Prime Minister updated the public on the results from the Pfizer/BioNTec Vaccine trials – but we cannot afford to allow the hope that a vaccine may in the near fugure provide the opportunity to end this pandemic to make us stop trying to control the virus today. We must all continue to stay at home, to protect the NHS and save lives.
The Pfizer/BioNTech Vaccine has been tested on over 40,000 volunteers and interim results suggest it is proving 90 per cent effective at protecting people against the virus.
While we are optimistic of a breakthrough, we must remember that there are no guarantees. The vaccine needs to pass all the rigorous safety checks and needs to be proved effective. If and when this vaccine is approved, we will begin a UK-wide NHS led programme of vaccine distribution. This will start with those most at risk, as currently recommended by scientific experts, before being rolled out more widely.
Earlier this year the UK Government ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine – enough for about a third of the population, since you need two doses each. That puts us towards the front of the international pack on a per capita basis. We have also ordered over 300 million doses from 5 other vaccine candidates as well.
But the biggest mistake we could make now would be to slacken our resolve at such a critical moment. Irrespective of whether there is a vaccine on the way or not, we must continue to do everything possible right now to bring the R down – and everyone should continue to stay at home, to protect the NHS and save lives.