On Monday, news filtered through that the vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech is 90% effective - with zero safety concerns raised during its testing phase during which it was used on 43,500 people.
The sensation of relief that swept the country on Monday was understandable.
During the afternoon, news filtered through that a vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech has been confirmed to be 90% effective – with zero safety concerns raised from its testing phase during which it was used on 43,500 people.
This is as close as we’ve been to the prospect of immunisation since the pandemic took hold.
Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty called the news “very encouraging”, whilst Deputy CMO Jonathan Van-Tam even suggested there could be a vaccine by Christmas – with a “much better horizon by spring.”
But the truth is these are early days.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson – who himself must have been buoyed by the very real prospect of a magic jab after a torrid few months leading the nation – urged caution.
He warned it was still “very, very early days”, and that “the biggest mistake we could make now would be to slacken our resolve at a critical moment.”
Van Tam also admitted that setbacks during the distribution of a vaccine could easily happen, and attempted to clarify the situation with a football analogy.
“[We] haven’t won the cup yet, but what it does is it tells you that the goalkeeper can be beaten,” he said.
Here’s what we know about the new vaccine so far…
How does the vaccine work?
The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine works by teaching the immune system to combat coronavirus.
Two doses are required – three weeks apart – for maximum effect.
The vaccine involves injecting people with a tiny bit of the virus which the immune system immediately recognises as a threat and learns how to defeat; thereby offering future protection.
According to developers, 9 out of 10 people who receive the vaccine will not get COVID symptoms.
Who will get it first?
The most vulnerable people in the UK will have first dibs on any vaccine.
This means it’s likely to be distributed to care homes and hospitals – locations the virus has hit hardest.
Frontline workers may also be prioritised for doses.
The expectation is that the older you are, the sooner you will be eligible for the coronavirus vaccine.
Younger people are likely to be lower down the list unless they have a condition that categorises them as vulnerable.
Will it work?
It does, so far.
But the answer as to whether the vaccine will work in the long-term is a case of wait and see.
There are apparently some logistical challenges to storing the vaccine, too – with doses having to be kept at -80 degrees (facilities a humble GP surgery or pharmacy would not have).
The virus may also mutate later down the line, which would mean the vaccine would have to be tweaked in order to remain effective.
When will lockdowns stop?
Once the vaccine is ready, the challenge is getting it to the people who need it most.
This will take time, and until then, social restrictions remain of crucial importance in the fight against COVID-19.
Is the UK getting the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine?
Britain has ordered 30 million doses.
What about other vaccines?
There are around a dozen vaccines in the final stages of development – with news expected on these in the coming weeks and months.
However, the Pfizer vaccine appears to be the lead candidate.
The BBC’s Health and science correspondent, James Gallagher, stated: “We are still waiting for the full data, but these results are even better than people were hoping for.
“A good flu vaccine protects around half of people, so 90% at the first attempt is a triumph.”
This Manchester restaurant is serving a Sunday roast with bottomless drinks
When it comes to Sunday roasts, by and large they’re pretty damn hard to beat. A catch-all plate loaded with your favourite meat and vegetables, drenched in gravy and topped with a fluffy Yorkshire pudding, what’s not to love?
Hands down this would be our death row meal every time. There’s simply no competition. So when we heard that a restaurant in Manchester has just launched a Sunday roast with bottomless drinks we felt the news was way too good not to share. After all, hot foodies don’t gatekeep.
Let’s be honest, we all love a good drink with our roast anyway – and now The Oast House has gone and made it that much more affordable.
Starting from 12pm on a Sunday, you can get 90 minutes of unlimited prosecco, a range of different spritzes and pints of lager here with your roast dinner for an extra £15.
The roast itself is priced at two courses for £18.50 or three for £22.50, with main choices including gorgeously pink-looking roast beef and lamb, plus chicken, crispy pork belly and a chestnut, mushroom and red lentil roast.
All come served with mustard glazed carrots, red cabbage, Tenderstem broccoli, roast potatoes, a Yorkshire pudding and gravy – plus the option to add on crispy onion-topped Shorrocks Lancashire cauliflower cheese for an extra £2.50.
Elsewhere on the menu, you’ll find the likes of scotch eggs with picalilli, pea hummus, wings and calamari to whet your appetite as starters.
In the pudding section, meanwhile, there is a host of tempting options: ranging from a rose and hibiscus poached peach and pistachio cheesecake, to cookie dough loaded with Oreos and vanilla icecream.
Further pudding choices include a mouthwatering lemon tart served with raspberry sorbet and crushed honeycomb, a vegan-friendly dark chocolate and peanut butter pot with Biscoff crumb and caramelised banana, and everyone’s favourite: a sticky toffee pudding with rich toffee sauce and icecream on the side.
Bottomless drinks options will set you back £15 per person and can be enjoyed by the whole table up to a maximum of six, with spritz choices spanning Aperol, raspberry, blood orange or elderflower.