The boss of one of the companies leading the charge for a Covid-19 vaccine has said normal life could return by the second half of 2021, if vaccination is successful.
Albert Bourla, chief executive of pharmaceutical company Pfizer - which has announced results of 95 per cent efficacy in its vaccine - expressed hope that there is “light at the end of the tunnel” as it prepares for distribution.
10 million doses due this year
Mr Bourla said that Pfizer has already produced 20 million doses of its Covid vaccine, and is preparing for distribution as soon as global regulatory authorities give permission. Submissions to regulators will be made within several days, with shipping to begin just “a couple of hours” after being given the green light.
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The UK has secured 40 million doses of the vaccine in total, 10 million of which are due in the country by the end of this year, if the vaccine is approved.
Speaking to Sky News, Bourla said, "As things (are) going on, until we reach herd immunity, people need to be very careful. They need to wear a mask, social distance.
"There is light at the end of the tunnel, it's real. We never believed to have a vaccine of this efficiency so people need to be patient.
"I believe that the second half of 2021 will be a very different experience for a lot of us. I think if we will be able to vaccinate, we can go back to normal life."
Will Brexit have an impact?
The UK’s exit from the European Union has raised some questions about distribution of the vaccine from businesses, but Mr Bourla explained he was optimistic about plans to overcome any logistical problems.
He said, "I don't think it is a secret that our company, together with all of the corporate world, was not fascinated with the idea that the UK will separate from Europe.
"But we face the reality that this is the will of the United Kingdom's people and we have been working for years now to come to a solution when this transition happens.
"So I believe that all of us have organised their logistics to overcome these types of challenges and hope that things will go well."