London, October 28: "When will COVID-19 vaccine be available?" is the question being asked by scores across the world, as the pandemic has crippled the normal life that existed before March 2020. A dose to ward off the coronavirus threat could possibly be available by Christmas, the festival celebrated on December 25, said UK government's vaccine taskforce chief Kate Bingham.

The two vaccines that are in a close contest to emerge as the world's first silver bullet against COVID-19 are: candidates of Pfizer-BioNtech and Oxford University-AstraZeneca. The roll-out would depend on the safety efficacy data of phase 3 trials which both the developers are expected to release next month. When Will COVID-19 Vaccine Covishield, Developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca, Be Available? Adar Poonawalla Responds.

"If the first two vaccines, or either of them, show that they are both safe and effective, I think there is a possibility that vaccine rollout will start this side of Christmas, but otherwise I think it's more realistic to expect it to be early next year," Bingham said, while speaking to BBC Television.

Bingham, in an article published in The Lancet earlier this week, expressed doubt on whether the first set of vaccines that will be available before the world could act as the silver bullet against COVID-19. The early doses may be "imperfect", she said, adding that they may only succeed in reducing the symptoms or developing an immunity which may last for a short period.

"The first generation of vaccines is likely to be imperfect, and we should be prepared that they might not prevent infection but rather reduce symptoms, and, even then, might not work for everyone or for long,” Bingham wrote in the medical journal.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Oct 28, 2020 10:42 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website