Plans have been drawn up to roll out the Oxford coronavirus vaccine across the county on January 4, it has been reported.
The government has reportedly set a target of 2m vaccinations, with either the Oxford of Pfizer jab, within a fortnight.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to be approved by regulators within days, paving the way for mass vaccination centres at sports stadia and conference venues to open next month.
Unlike the Pfizer vaccine, which is already being deployed, it can be stored in a standard fridge rather than at -70C.
Several million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been manufactured and are ready to be deployed, reports The Sunday Telegrpah. The government has ordered 100 million jabs, with most expected to be rolled out by March.
The Oxford vaccine is much simpler to distribute in large quantities because it’s easier to store, handle and only requires on jab.
“We are deploying as fast as we get the stuff in,” a Whitehall insider reportedly told the paper.
“The constraint is supply, not deployment. The protocol around Pfizer is really difficult, but with AstraZeneca it’s much easier, it’s like the flu vaccine.”
Speaking last week, the lead researcher at Oxford University, Professor Sarah Gilbert, said: “The regulators have to be given their time but I really hope that the moment isn’t too far off.”
Scientists at Oxford University spent months working on the vaccine.
And ministers have given £88million since March to help accelerate the project.