the uk approves its second coronavirus vaccine, with the first doses due to be given from monday. 100 million doses of the oxford—astrazeneca vaccine have been ordered, enough for 50 million people. so those standards have been met, and it has been a thoroughly robust process — on safety, on quality, and on effectiveness. millions more people are set to move into tougher coronavirus tiers — a government announcement is expected within hours. boris johnson urges mps to back his post—brexit trade deal. the new arrangements are due to come into force on friday. and as 2020 nears an end, we report from new york on how the virus has changed america.
good afternoon. the uk medicines regulator has approved the oxford—astrazeneca coronavirus vaccine, paving the way for millions more people to be immunised in the new year. the uk has ordered 100 million doses — enough to vaccinate 50 million people. the vaccine is much easier to transport and store than the pfizer biontech one already in use, and is also much cheaper. 0ur health correspondent anna collinson has the details. approval of the 0xford—astrazeneca vaccine is a huge moment, and with pressure on hospitals intensifying, it could not have come at a better time. this is a really significant moment in the fight against the pandemic, because the vaccine is the way out, and the approval of the
0xford—astrazeneca vaccine brings forward the date at which we are going to bring this pandemic to an end. after cramming years of work into a matter of months, jabs will begin to be administered on monday. this morning, the head of the uk regulator insisted no corners had been cut. the safety of the public always comes first. the mhra's approval has been reached following approval has been reached following a thorough and scientifically rigorous review of all the evidence. the announcement comes four weeks after the uk approved its first coronavirus vaccine. while the pfizer and biontech jab must be kept at freezing temperatures, the oxford one is both cheaper and can be stored in a fridge. this makes it easier to reach the most at risk groups, particularly those in care homes. the hope is around 2 million patients a week could soon be vaccinated. the government target is an ambitious target, and we are working with him to define this. i
did not mean to say that it is not achievable, but i meant to say that the government is committed to vaccinating people as quickly as we can. the uk vaccine roll-out will now focus on administering first doses to as many vulnerable people as possible, which will prevent severe infection after three weeks. the second dose is vital, because it provides longer term protection. patients will now wait up to 12 weeks to receive it. because of the design of the trial, some people got second doses at different time intervals. this allowed an analysis of the effectiveness of the vaccine if you were to be able to delay from four to 12 weeks. the effectiveness is high, up to 80%, with a three month interval. the vaccine uses a harmless virus which causes colds in chimpanzees and is altered to look like coronavirus. the body produces antibodies and t cells to fight it
off. if a person is infected in the future, their body now is to attack. what we are hoping is that we will hear more approvals elsewhere in the world, which means that we can really start moving the vaccine to people in different populations to have the greatest possible impact. while the vaccine approval has been called a game changer, it will be months before we see any real effects. until then, it months before we see any real effects. untilthen, it is months before we see any real effects. until then, it is likely to restrictions will be needed to try to bring the virus under control this winter. anna collinson, bbc news. 0ur medical editor, fergus walsh, is here. fergus, a hugely significant development, isn't it? it is, reeta, and fantastic for british science and fantastic for british science and all the thousands of volunteers who took part in these trials, and it really is an important moment, to go from the beginning of the year when we had just found this virus to now have in turn vaccines which have been approved. and i think in terms of effectiveness, the sort of take—home message is that if people
get one shot of this vaccine, then there is a very good chance that they want to get seriously ill with covid, that is the most important thing. it may not protect them com pletely thing. it may not protect them completely from getting a covid infection or passing it on to others, but it should take the pressure off hospitals and give that urgent protection to vulnerable groups. and then they should, of course, in due course, maybe three months later, then have their second dose. so it is the start of the fightback in a really big way, because the uk has ordered 100 million doses of this, and millions are set to come on stream early in the new year. 0k, many thanks. our medical editor, fergus walsh, there. millions more people in england are to be placed under the toughest tier 4 coronavirus restrictions as case numbers continue to rise. the health secretary, matt hancock, will set out the details of which areas will change in a commons statement later. it comes amid growing concerns over the increasing pressures on the nhs. 0ur correspondent charlotte wright reports. the challenge facing
the nhs is laid bare, with reports yesterday that covid patients have been cared for in ambulances on hospital forecourts. winter pressures, coupled with rising coronavirus cases, mean icus in london and the south east are now running at more than 100% capacity. it's been really, really tough. every time i start my shift, i walk into my intensive care unit, and i'm just greeted with a sight that takes me aback every time — of row upon row of patients, extremely unwell, all with the same yesterday saw the highest single day rise in coronavirus cases in the uk since mass testing began at 53,135, while infection rates in lower—tier areas of england have risen rapidly. now some of the government's scientific advisers are calling for tougher measures. it's early days yet to see whether the tier 4 restrictions have been sufficient
to control the virus. of course, that's going to be a bit difficult to judge because everything's different over christmas anyway. but i think we're going to need at least tier 4 level restrictions, and we're going to need to keep a very close eye on what's happening over the next week or two to decide whether we need to strengthen that further. later today, the health secretary is expected to announce changes to the existing restrictions, with the west midlands and parts of the east midlands and lancashire possibly heading for tier 4, forcing the closure of businesses such as nonessential shops, gyms and hairdressers. absolutely devastated again that we have just got going after reopening on the 2nd of december, where just getting back on our feet again, and we've got to stop again. i really think that, yeah, they're just going to shut everybody down again. the
government say that they don't take the decisions lightly but that keeping everybody safe and protecting the nhs is a priority. charlotte wright, bbc news. 0ur correspondent phil mackie is in birmingham, which is currently in tier 3. phil, what's expected there? i think everyone here is resigned to the fact that it will be placed into tier 4, as well as parts of the black country, at least 2.3 million people by the end of the week in the tightest restrictions. it is reasonably busy, busier than it has been, andi reasonably busy, busier than it has been, and i think that is because people are aware of what is going to happen, andi people are aware of what is going to happen, and i have come to visit nonessential shops for one last time. as you heard in charlotte's piece, talking about the barberjust around the corner from here, really busy, people coming in to get a haircut, anticipating what else is to come. it is notjust birmingham and the black country, coventry, solihull, lancashire, stoke—on—trent, and it is because
infection rates have gradually been going up, there is immense pressure on the hospitals here, particularly in birmingham, and that isjust the west midlands. they could be 1-2,000,000 west midlands. they could be 1—2,000,000 people going into tier 4 in the east midlands. that announcement is coming at three o'clock. people are dreading it but expecting and knowing that they could well be placed in the highest tier simply because there was infection rates are going up so quickly here. come out 0k, phil, many thanks. 0ur correspondent phil mackie there. the education secretary is to make a statement this afternoon about the return of schools in england next month, amid growing concerns about rising coronavirus cases. all primary school pupils and year 11 and 13 secondary school pupils students had been expected to return to classrooms from monday, but school leaders and scientists have called for this to be reviewed. the prime minister, borisjohnson, has urged mps to "open a new chapter in our national story" by backing his post—brexit trade deal with the european union in a commons vote later today.
mps are currently debating legislation which would put the eu trade deal into uk law. they're expected to back the measures — a day before the end of the transition period. 0ur political correspondent nick eardley reports. after a four and a half year journey, the brexit process is entering its final hours. this morning, an raf plane arriving in london, carrying a copy of the trade deal which will change the uk's relationship with europe. in brussels this morning, european leaders put pen to paper. the prime minister will add his signature in downing street later. is this the final hurdle for brexit, prime minister? first for boris johnson, though, a trip to the commons. mps recalled from their winter break to sign off on the agreement, reached on christmas eve.
first we stood aloof, then half—hearted, sometimes an obstructive member of the eu. now, with this bill, we're going to become a friendly neighbour. the best friend and ally in the eu could have. labour are officially backing the deal, saying the alternative would be far worse. after four and a half years of debate and division, we finally have a try to deal with the eu. it's simpler, its then, and the consequence of the prime minister's political choices. but we have only one day before the end of the transition period, and it's the only deal that we have. with tory mps united behind it, the deal will pass comfortably. some labour mps will abstain, unhappy at the terms. and dozens from other parties will vote against — northern ireland's mps, the liberal democrats and the snp. it isa it is a choice between a future
defined by this disaster of a deal 01’ defined by this disaster of a deal or the future the snp is offering to the scottish people, an independent nation at the heart of the european union. the legislation will be passed through parliament today at breakneck speed and should be signed into law tonight. and although today's proceedings like some of the drama we've seen in recent years, they mark an important point. for some, the start of a new era for the uk in which it can forge new relationships and sign new trade deals as a sovereign country. for others, a moment which will see a loss of international cloud as we leave major trading bloc. after years of debate, the decision has been made and the process is nearly at an end. a new relationship is about to begin. nick eardley, bbc news, westminster. new york was the epicentre of the initial coronavirus outbreak in the us. the city that never sleeps was put into hibernation by covid as cases and deaths soared. covid—19 has exposed many of america's long—term ailments,
and for many in new york, its effects haven't gone away. nick bryant sent this report from the city about how the virus has changed america and americans. christmas 2020. where the carols sound more like laments. and where the traditional decorations come with the new protocols of the pandemic. social distancing, at a time when people normally congregate together. for many new yorkers, the festive season sounds more like a misnomer. it's a time of empty chairs at the family table. a time to think of loved ones who didn't survive the year. last time i was here was with my dad. the funfair at coney island brings back memories for angelina pryer, of herfather richard, a keen long—distance runner, who died from the coronavirus at the beginning of the outbreak. he was just 66 years old.
i feel like my country has turned its back on us. i feel like i lost more than just my dad. i've lost a feeling of safety, a feeling of confidence in my living situation, in my government, in my fellow citizens. itjust feels like we're all alone. then there's the economic toll of this crisis. forjust as poverty has been a propagator of the pandemic, the pandemic has become a propagator of poverty. good morning, everyone! please have your bags open and ready, thank you. pre—covid, this foodbank served 200 people a week. on this morning, it provided vital assistance to 200 people in the first ten minutes.
these queues are as long now as they were in march. it's extraordinary to see. yeah, they keep getting longer and longer. the lines and the need keeps growing and growing. and it's harderfor us as an organisation to keep up with the need and the demand. people are gathering again in times square, the crossroads of the world. but this is a global city that's suffered so much bereavement and where the flags are still at half staff. the coronavirus outbreak has exposed so many of america's long—term ailments — its income and racial disparities, the dysfunction in washington, the rundown of its government and the politicisation of everything. even the wearing of facemasks. 2020, the year of the pandemic, and one that people here can't wait to consign to the past. nick bryant, bbc news, new york. that's it for now,
the next news is at six o'clock. prime minister's coronavirus news conference is expected at five o'clock. now it is time for the new you are, bye—bye. good afternoon. west brom boss sam allardyce says there should be a circuit break in football after the premier league returned its highest number of positive coronavirus results in a single round of testing this season. 18 were found in total. manchester city have had an outbreak which meant their game against everton was cancelled on monday. and there's doubt over fulham's game against tottenham tonight because of new cases of coronavirus at fulham. the efl has also been affected with seven of 12 league one games postponed last night because of outbreaks. sam allardyce says the games authorities need to take action.
we can only do the right thing, which would be to have a circuit breaker. you know, i'm 66 year old, and the last thing i want to do is catch covid. so, if that's what we need to do, that's what we need to do. i mean, probably all the players will overcome it. it'd be more difficult for me to overcome it, if i caught it, than them. so, yes, i'm very concerned for myself and football in general. well, allardyce doesn't necessarily have the support of other managers in the premier league. let's hear from the manchester united manager 0le gunner solskjaer. when are we going to play the games? we all know this year are so difficult but if you just stop more games, i don't think that's going to make a games, i don't think that's going to makea big, games, i don't think that's going to make a big, big change. it might be a longer one when we finish the
season. there's a full round of fixtures in the scottish premiership today to round off the year. rangers are 16 points clear at the top of the table, but have played three games more than celtic in second. rangers are at st mirren, while celtic host dundee united. while later on it's eighth versus ninth as kilmarnock travel to motherwell. you can keep across them all on the bbc sport website and app. new zealand wrapped up a dramatic win in the first test against pakistan to boost their hopes of reaching next year's world test championship final. new zealand had been favourites to win the game as the final day started with the tourists on 71—3 — but a century from fawad alam, 11 years after his last his last century, gave the tourists hope of a draw. he was eventually removed on 102, setting up a thrilling end with the hosts needing four wickets from the final 22 overs to secure victory.
despite resistance from paksitan, new zealand finally got the last wicket with less than five overs remaining. the wet weather has put paid to friday's new year racing meeting at cheltenham, which has been abandoned. 0rganisers say the track is waterlogged and unraceable. the seven—race card was due to feature the grade two relkeel hurdle. the event had been set to be held behind closed doors after gloucestershire entered tier 3 for coronavirus restrcitions. that's all the sport for now. you can find more on all those stories on the bbc sport website. that's bbc.co.uk/sport.
let's return to one of our main stories today, and the uk's medical regulators have approved the 0xford—astrazeneca coronavirus vaccine — clearing the way for a huge ramping up of the drive to innoculate the country against covid—19. it's hoped the firstjabs will be administered next week. astra—zeneca say they hope to be able to deliver two million doses a week. speaking at a downing street data—briefing earlier, those behind the decision to approve the vaccine, explained more on how it will be administered. i'd like to say straight out and very directly, the public, everyone listening, can be absolutely confident that the rigour, the scientific rigour of our assessment, has been as we would normally do according to guidelines and standards. those standards have been met and it has been a fairly
—— thoroughly robust process on safety, quality and effectiveness. there should be an interval of four to 12 weeks between the first and second dose. we looked at the half dose regimen which has been publicised widely but felt that the results were not borne out by the full analysis. we have come to the decision of an interval of between 4—12 weeks based on the data that was presented to us, because of the design of the trial, some people got second doses at different time intervals. this allowed an analysis of the effectiveness of the vaccine if you were to be able to delay between 4—12 weeks. this showed that the effectiveness was high, up to 80%, when there was a three—month interval between first and second
doses, which is the reason for our recommendation. the two vaccines differ in terms of their storage and handling requirements. this has already been alluded to earlier. for instance, for the pfizer—biontech vaccine, a very cold storage is required, up to —70 degrees, whilst for the astrazeneca vaccine, that needs to be stored at 2—8 degrees. these logistical considerations are important. to facilitate rapid deployment of the vaccine within a mass vaccination programme and to avoid substantial vaccine wastage, it may be that, in certain settings, one vaccine is offered in preference over another. finally i want to touch on the dosing interval. both vaccines have been approved for a two—dose schedule. what is impressive about the vaccine studies is that after the first dose, individuals acquire a high
level of protection shortly after the dose. currently in the uk, we know that covid infection rates are very, very high. the immediate urgency is for rapid and high levels of vaccine uptake. jcvi therefore recommends the delivery of the first dose of covid—19 vaccine should be prioritised for both the pfizer/biontech vaccine and the astrazeneca vaccine. this will allow the greatest number of eligible people to receive vaccines in the shortest time possible and that will protect the greatest number of lives. the second vaccine dose is still important because it may impact on the duration of protection. we recommend that the second dose is given up to 12 weeks after the first dose.
earlier i spoke to oxford university's sarah gilbert, a professor of vaccinology who was the lead researcher of the team who developed the vaccine. she explained how her team were able to develop the vaccine so quickly. it has been possible because we've been planning to do something like this for quite a long time. we've been working on ways to develop vaccines that mean we can go quickly when we need to make a new one. we've been using this type of technology for many years now in oxford to develop vaccines against other pathogens that can cause outbreaks, but we've never had to work as quickly as we have done this year. it's really been very challenging, but we've had a great team of people and partners working with us and in particular astrazeneca taking over the manufacturing of the vaccine, which has gone so well and has meant that so many doses will be available both now and in the coming year. there are lots of questions being asked about this vaccine and the new variant of coronavirus that is emerging and
spreading quickly. are you confident this vaccine can deal with that new variant? so far we haven't seen any evidence that any vaccines will be affected by the emergence of these new variants. there's one that has been picked up in the uk and another in south africa, and they have some similarities. they appear to be much more transmissible, but that's the main difference between them and the original version. we are not complacent. we recognise that as the virus spreads through a population, it will mutate and there are likely to be more mutations in the future so we've already started getting our plans into place to be able to produce a new version of the vaccine should be —— we need it in the future, but we don't think that moment has come yet. we heard from experts advising the government a little earlier this morning about the doses of the vaccine and the length of time between the first dose and the second dose and there seemed
to have been developments on both of those counts. can you just talk us through that? yes, we've been able to provide data from our clinical trials on a variety of intervals between the first and second dose because people didn't all get the second dose at four weeks. some of them had it at intervals of up to 26 weeks, but the data is most robust looking at an interval of up to 12 weeks and in the situation we now find ourselves in with the pandemic raging, case numbers increasing rapidly day by day and a real need to get as many people protected as possible, it's been decided by the jcvi that the most pragmatic thing to do is give us many at—risk people as possible the first dose of the vaccine because we know that from three weeks after that first dose there is a very good level of protection and nobody in the clinical trials at that point after their first dose was in hospital with covid or experiencing severe disease and being able to prevent people going into hospital with covid is going to a massive impact on the health service so that's
been the recommendation, that people should be given their first dose and then they have up to three months to receive the second dose and the second still important because that's going to give give us the durability of protection to take people through the rest of the year and give them longer—term protection, whereas the first dose will give a fairly rapid onset of protection, but not for such a long time. back to the house of commons where mps are currently debating the brexit trade agreement ahead of a vote on it expected at around 2:30pm. the prime minister has told the commons as an opportunity to forge a fantastic new relationship with our european neighbour and sir keir starmer describe it as a thinly deal with many flaws but said it was better than no deal. let's listen in. this is presently caroline lucas, green mp for brighton pavilion speaking. to build peace
out of the ruins of war. no more than ever in a world wracked by insecurity and division, we should be cementing relationships with countries that share our values, not deliberately and knowingly cutting oui’ deliberately and knowingly cutting our ties with them. madam deputy speaker, i will not abandon what i believe and i believe that leaving the eu is a profound mistake, ironically and to relate a majority of people now agree. voting against this deal is how we keep alive the belief in something better and that's what i will do today. ian liddell—grainger. that's what i will do today. ian liddell-grainger. i'm sure the lady—mac from brighton pavilion will be delighted to hearing i will start with nuclear. i'm delighted that pa rt with nuclear. i'm delighted that part of this deal includes nuclear, not because it isn't right, but because it is vital for our future. if anybody wants to see a living example of eu cooperation, go down
the road from where i am at the moment and you'll find hinkley point nuclear power station. it's a burning example of what we have done with the cooperation of the french and others in making this enormous success but i would say to the government now, we should upskill. we are going to —— i hope we will get a small to medium reactors throughout the united kingdom and rightly so but to do that we need to up rightly so but to do that we need to up our skills, skills that were tra nsfera ble up our skills, skills that were transferable around the world, and we now have the freedom to do that. edf energy has put an enormous amount of money into training facilities, not just amount of money into training facilities, notjust down here in somerset but across the united kingdom, partly to do with commissioning, partly to do with running the existing fleet of stations and we must embrace this because it is a future success, it isa because it is a future success, it is a success, so let's build on what we've got, and going from one to the
other, i would like to also make a point about upland farming. the honourable member for surrey has been to exmoor, he knows how tough it can be up on those hills and how tough it can be for any upland farm, andi tough it can be for any upland farm, and i would urge the government, please, we now have the freedom to do what we want, the agricultural bill has gone through, but we got a bill has gone through, but we got a bill on that. the use of elms is fine but please don't use this as an excuse with our freedom within this bill to say that we will use this to make farming more difficult across the united kingdom. i also covered the united kingdom. i also covered the lowest pa rt the united kingdom. i also covered the lowest part which is the levels. the levels are beautiful, they are unbelievably well—managed. been through hell in 1914 and we've been through hell in 1914 and we've been through hell in 1914 and we've been through hell time and time again. don't throw away what we've got, it's a wonderful thing and i would like the honourable memberfor surrey heath to confirm that the government will not use this as an