A CORONAVIRUS vaccine could be available for mass roll-out in the UK just after Christmas, according to a leading medic.

Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, has told MPs that the Oxford University vaccine might even be ready by December.

The drug, manufactured by AstraZeneca, is currently undergoing stage three trials which have shown it will could infections and save lives.

According to the Sunday Times, Van-Tam said: “We aren't light years away from [a successful vaccine]. It isn't a totally unrealistic suggestion we could deploy a vaccine soon after Christmas. That would have a significant impact on hospital admissions and deaths.

“Vaccines are being developed at a speed that, if successful, will save lives.”

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The UK Government changed laws this weekend to grant pharmacists, dentists, midwives and paramedics permission to administer jabs.

Thousands of NHS staff are now being trained to administer a vaccine in the hope of a mass roll-out by new year.

A health department official confirmed a “robust and comprehensive training programme” was being developed by the NHS to train more people to administer injections.

Meanwhile, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) predicted a Covid-19 vaccine will be ready early next year.

Professor Jeremy Farrar warned the UK faces a "very, very difficult" period over the next three to six months and said he does not foresee a vaccine being ready before Christmas.

But the Wellcome Trust director told Sky News there is "light at the end of the tunnel", as he believes a Covid-19 vaccine and effective treatment will be ready in the first quarter of 2021.

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Dr Alison Pittard, dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine in London, later told the channel that doctors' evolving understanding of the virus has dramatically upped the survival rate.

She said doctors' haste to mechanically ventilate patients at the start of the pandemic might have contributed to the higher rate of death in spring compared to now.

At the start of the pandemic, just 66% of people in hospital with coronavirus survived, compared to 84% in August.

Pittard said: "Initially we used to put patients straight on to mechanical ventilation - so we would bring them to intensive care, sedate them and put them on ventilators.

"But we have slowly started to realise that perhaps we could manage some patients without doing that."