ROME – A COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2020?

The so-called ‘Oxford vaccine’ developed by Astrazeneca could be distributed by the end of 2020 if everything goes according to plan, Italy’s Health Minsiter Roberto Speranza has said.

“We are investing as much as we can on the anti-Covid vaccine and I think all the effort and resources we are putting into it will bring positive results”, said the health minister.

“We have a contract with Astrazeneca, that is producing the so-called ‘Oxford vaccine’. Its viral vector is manufactured in Pomezia and it is being put into vials in Anagni,” he added.

A similar statement was made recently by his Greek counterpart Vassilis Kikilias but an EU spokesperson made it clear that no date for a vaccine delivery has been given.

Last week, an EU official raised the possibility that Brussels would give market authorisation for a vaccine in November. But rumours in Brussels suggest that is too optimistic and thatAugust 2021 is a more realistic scenario. The World Health Organisation also said last week that massive vaccination could not be expected before mid-2021.

Speranza also addressed the need for resources, saying that “they are fundamental and we have to take them, both from the EU Recovery Fund and from the European Stability Mechanism.”

“It doesn’t matter where the money comes from, as long as it is spent on our national health system it is well spent,” he added. (Alessandro Follis |

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