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Thursday, November 12, 2020

November 12, 2020
Bill Gates has previously said some countries could be back to normal by late 2021 with a successful jab Credit: Reuters

BORIS Johnson will meet with Bill Gates to plan a national vaccine rollout plan with the pharma giants.

The PM and the Microsoft co-founder will hold a roundtable this evening to tackle the coronavirus crisis and discuss future plans to stop more pandemics.

Mr Gates's foundation - the Bill and Melida Gates Foundation - has helped spearhead research into pandemics and ploughed £118million into finding a vaccine for coronavirus.

The tech chief has previously said countries such as Britain and the US could be back to normal by "late 2021" if a vaccine is found.

But he has warned availability of vaccines will be crucial.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal last month, Mr Gates said: "The allocation within the US, and between the US and other countries, will be a very top point of contention."

Mr Johnson was cautiously optimistic about the Pfizer vaccine, which has shown to be at least 90 per cent effective in stopping people catching coronavirus.

And he said the UK had already secured contracts for 40 million doses of the vaccine - enough for a third of the UK to get the jab.

Care home residents, care workers, NHS staff and older people are expected to get the jab first - it may not come to the wider population until the new year.

When asked about the security of the supply of a vaccine, Mr Johnson said: "I'm very hopeful we'll get the ones that we'ved ordered.

"The vaccine task force (have been) securing supplies for the UK for a long time now and it's right that they've been doing that just on a speculative basis."

A spokesperson for Downing Street said Mr Gates, Mr Johnson and bosses from pharmaceutical giants would discuss the PM's "five point plan to stop future pandemics".

The plan was developed with the help of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Trust, and aims to build a massive network of "zootnotic hubs" to identify potentially dangerous viruses before they leap from animals to humans.

And the plan also seeks to build on existing early warning systems for pandemics so countries can mobilise before illnesses became disastrously widespread - as Covid-19 did.


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