The end of 2020 brought the news that we’d been waiting for - the first vaccine was approved for use in the UK.
I’m hugely grateful to all the scientists who have made this happen. Around the world they’ve been working non-stop – just like our frontline healthcare professionals and key workers - to put a stop to this virus and allow us to get on with life as normal.
Now another milestone in the vaccination programme is happening on our doorstep.
St George’s is one of four sites participating in a new study to assess the safety and immune response of the Oxford-AstraZenaca jab in healthy children aged 6-17 years old.
Building on previous trials of the vaccine, which have shown that it is safe, produces strong immune system responses, and has high efficacy in all adults, this trial will assess if children and young adults make a good immune response with the vaccine.
I recognise that some have concerns about the vaccine, and dangerous myths circulate on social media – it’s simply not good enough to just ignore them and hope they go away. Labour has offered to work with ministers to tackle online harms. And we can all play our part in putting friends and family members at ease by reminding them that we can trust the NHS to take care of us in these difficult times.
If the vaccine is good enough for scientists and the regulator, it’s good enough for my family and I. Indeed, I have joined together with a cross-party group of MPs, encouraging everyone to take up the vaccine. The video can be viewed here.
We won’t see changes overnight and we still need to look out for our communities. Let's regain the spirit of coming together like we did in the first days of the pandemic and work to eradicate this virus.