The vaccination race for COVID-19: A marathon update.

The vaccination race for COVID-19: A marathon update.

The vaccination race for COVID-19: A marathon update.

by Lisa Short

The development of a safe, effective and widely available Vaccine for COVID-19 as a tool which can contribute to the control of its spread and ultimately enable lifting of social and economic restrictions that have crippled globalisation has been called a race against time by many of the leading scientific communities around the world1. In reality it is more of a marathon with over 120 vaccines proposed across the world and 6 currently in clinical trial, another about to start and just on 70 in pre-evaluation stages2. The incredible speed and resources attributed to achieve this marathon start must be recognised in association with the time it would normally take a vaccine to reach this stage which can be 2 to 4 years3

The unprecedented public health emergency created as a result of COVID-19 is clear. What is still not clear is the conclusive source and the origin of the virus, how it transferred from its host [also not conclusive] and why the world wasn’t prepared with robust pandemic planning on the back of a flu like pandemic being known as the greatest single global threat for more than 10 years. These issues do not change the fact that conducting research and vaccination development even under these trying times is still linked to “a moral obligation to learn as much as possible, as quickly as possible”1. Patience as they say is a virtue, but with the global catastrophic impact of COVID-19 it is also in very short supply. The CSIRO states this is a very complex task, and ‘we really are pushing our science to the limits of global knowledge’7.

Some of the Scientific Challenges

Scientists face are overcoming a number of key challenges in this marathon of Olympic proportions, under extreme pressure of demand by a world wanting life as the once expected it to be.

The first relates to how the virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 gains entry into the cells of a person.  This entry door occurs via the angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE)-2 receptor. Put simply the virus attaches itself to a particular enzyme that converts a protein in the blood and enters much like a guest to an uninvited party. However, the real problem occurs when it comes to testing a proposed vaccine, because the two animals usually involved in the trial process – rats and mice – lack the ACE-2 receptors that virus attaches to.

Another challenge to be overcome of vaccine development in general lies in identifying a standardised neutralising antibody titre, which is designed to test whether being vaccinated against an infection will neutralise exogenous exposure to a virus, and thus offer seroprotection. And in that mix of ‘challenge’ is that the virus being tested hasn’t gone through generic change. In the case of SARS-CoV-2 there has been evolution, but fortunately not in the manner in which it enters cells through the ACE-2 receptors. 

Who’s winning the marathon and where are the other runners placed?

US based company Moderna, based in Massachusetts, is the current front runner leading Phase 1 trials in conjunction with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. On 18th May 2020 Moderna released the first findings of its trial for mRNA-1273 the first SARS-CoV-2  vaccine to be tested in people. Findings indicate the vaccine seems to be safe, and stimulated an immune response against the virus where antibodies were generated in the trial volunteers, and were also able to stop the virus from replicating in human cells in the laboratory. The levels of antibodies in the blood of the trial volunteers were similar to those previously detected in recovered COVID-19 patients. These successes pave the way for the larger Phase 2 and Phase 3 [July] stages of the vaccine development. Tal Zaks of Moderna has cautiously indicated said that if these stages go well, the vaccine could be widely available by the end of this year or early next year.

Running second in the marathon is the University of Oxford. It has found its recent trial was not  effective in stopping six rhesus macaque monkeys from becoming infected with the coronavirus. albeit none of the vaccinated monkeys developed pneumonia. This is good news in that it suggests the trial may offer some protection against severe symptoms of COVID-194. The progress of this trail continues, for the Oxford vaccine candidate just three months after the genetic sequence of the coronavirus was released for study.

In Australia the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), which has funded four consortia one of which is led by The University of Queensland (UQ) in conjunction with the CSIRO are looking to move to Phase 1 dosing in June 2020. This follows Melbourne researchers from the Doherty Institute mapping immune responses from one of Australia’s first novel COVID-19 patients, showing the body’s ability to fight the virus and recover from the infection7.

Congratulations and accolades must go to the University of Queensland (UQ) who in 3 weeks created this vaccine candidate for SARS-CoV-2 , in part because of excellence in pre-existing knowledge and research.

Other universities including the Imperial College London and companies like Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and GSK (GlaxoSmithKline) are discussing starting phase one trials in September 2020.

Vaccine Manufacture

Once efficacy and safety is finalised the race to the finish line must also include the final impetus to ensure the world has sufficient facilities to produce the vaccine. Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has announced it will develop, manufacture and distribute the successful  vaccine around the world. However, to do this they will need to ensure scaled production without critically affecting the supply of other vital vaccines. Oxford Biomedica and Cobra Biologics are conducting similar approaches to scaling their capacity.

In this regard the he UK government is powering ahead launching a vaccine taskforce to coordinate scale-up efforts and has funded a £14 million industry-led vaccine manufacturing group with a fast-tracked a £65 million Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC). Australia to the contrary lacks the physical facility capacity to produce the vaccine numbers required and may need to look to overseas to conduct the task.

Other Interesting Developments 

No Olympic marathon would ever be complete without a few surprise delights and contributing factors. The development of treatments for COVID-19 will occur quicker than a vaccine, mainly because they are based on what scientists and medical staff already know.  For these reasons scientists from the United Kingdom have called for wider screening of existing drugs to see if they might work against SARS-CoV-2. Many of these being developed and the drugs already approved for use fall into a group of drugs called antivirals and target virus’s in people who already have an infection. Healthline10 publishes a good account of those approved already for use or under consideration.

Cardiff University in Wales has also led the world in antibody transfusion treatments for severe COVID-19 symptoms. Through transfusion of antibodies from plasma patients can increase their capacity to fight the infection themselves.

In another research paper produced in Canada on 2 May 2020, by the University of British Columbia it has been observed that by the time SARS-CoV-2 was first detected in late 2019, it was already pre-adapted to human transmission and there is a lack of definitive evidence to verify or rule out adaptation of the virus  in an intermediate host species11.

What does all this mean?

There is still so much we don’t know about SARS-CoV-2, including its origin, source and exact time of appearance in humans. We do know it’s very new to its human host and for that reason only we don’t know yet how it will behave. A vaccine is still at best months away. Whilst a lot of criticism has been directed globally at the World Health Organisation and governments around the world in their responses to the management of the pandemic, and even in their pandemic preparedness, rightly or wrongly it will take a globally collaborative approach  to develop a vaccine and treatments for COVID-19. Political banter does not achieve this end goal. Working together in the fastest and most efficient way does. Concurrently, new processes and infrastructures that develop ways for the people of the world to live, work, travel and enjoy life with resilience to any pandemic are paramount.




🌎Top 100 B2B Thought Leaders in the World to follow in 2020 🌍

Strategist in Design Ecosystem Thinking, Education, Business, Leadership & Technology

Bachelor Training & Development, Dip. T&A Systems
BA (Economics, Fin. Mgt.) Dip. Ed. Adv. Dip. OHS, Grad. Cert. Sc.


1   Royal Australian College of General Practitioners

2    World Health Organisation

3    The History of Vaccines: College of Physicians Philadelphia

4   New Scientist Update 18 May 2020

5   Centre for Infectious Disease & Research Policy


7   NatureMedicine

8   The Conversation

9   Cardiff University

10 Healthline

11 University of British Columbia

Coronavirus guidance, what you can and can’t to FAQ

Coronavirus guidance, what you can and can’t to FAQ

All changes will come into effect on Wednesday 13 May. Until then you should follow existing guidance on social distancing.

The government has set out its plan to return life to as near normal as we can, for as many people as we can, as quickly and fairly as possible in order to safeguard livelihoods, but in a way that is safe and continues to protect our NHS.

The government has published staying safe outside your home for guidance on what the new rules will mean. These will take effect on Wednesday. This page sets out key FAQ to inform the public and help you prepare for these changes.

This guidance applies in England – people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should follow the specific rules in those parts of the UK.

1. Public spaces / outdoor activities / exercise

1.1 What can I do from Wednesday 13 May that I couldn’t do before?

There will be a limited number of things you can do on Wednesday that you cannot do now:

  • spend time outdoors – for example sitting and enjoying the fresh air, picnicking, or sunbathing
  • meet one other person from a different household outdoors – following social distancing guidelines
  • exercise outdoors as often as you wish – following social distancing guidelines
  • use outdoor sports courts or facilities, such as a tennis or basketball court, or golf course – with members of your household, or one other person while staying 2 metres apart
  • go to a garden centre

At all times, should continue to observe social distancing guidelines when you are outside your home, including ensuring you are 2 metres away from anyone outside your household. As with before, you cannot:

  • visit friends and family in their homes
  • exercise in an indoor sports court, gym or leisure centre, or go swimming in a public pool
  • use an outdoor gym or playground
  • visit a private or ticketed attraction
  • gather in a group of more than two (excluding members of your own household), except for a few specific exceptions set out in law (for work, funerals, house moves, supporting the vulnerable, in emergencies and to fulfil legal obligations)

If you are showing coronavirus symptoms, or if you or any of your household are self-isolating, you should stay at home – this is critical to staying safe and saving lives.

1.2 I don’t have to stay at home anymore?

You should stay at home as much as possible. The reasons you may leave home include:

  • for work, where you cannot work from home
  • going to shops that are permitted to be open – to get things like food and medicine
  • to exercise or spend time outdoors
  • any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid injury or illness, escape risk of harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person

These reasons are exceptions and a fuller list is set out in the regulations. Even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent away from the home and ensuring that you are two metres apart from anyone outside of your household.

1.3 Are you reopening tennis courts / golf courses / basketball courts etc

Yes. Sports courts can re-open, but you should only partake in such activities alone, with members of your household, or with one other person from outside your household, while practising social distancing. You should take particular care if you need to use any indoor facilities next to these outdoor courts, such as toilets.

You should not use these facilities if you are showing coronavirus symptoms, or if you or any of your household are self-isolating.

1.4 Can I meet my friends and family in the park?

You can meet one other person from outside your household if you are outdoors. Public gatherings of more than 2 people from different households are prohibited in law. There are no limits on gatherings in the park with members of your household.

1.5 On what date can I expand my household group?

The government has asked the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) to advise on the concept of “bubbles”, which would mean allowing people to expand their household group to include one other household. For the time being, you cannot visit friends or family, except to spend time outdoors with up to one person from a different household.

1.6 Can I go out to help a vulnerable person?

You can go out to care for or help a vulnerable person, or to provide other voluntary or charitable services, following the advice set out here. You should not do so if you have coronavirus symptoms, however mild.

Wherever possible, you should stay at least two metres away from others, and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds (or use hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available).

1.7 Are there restrictions on how far I can travel for my exercise or outdoor activity?

No. You can travel to outdoor open space irrespective of distance. You shouldn’t travel with someone from outside your household unless you can practise social distancing – for example by cycling. Leaving your home – the place you live – to stay at another home is not allowed.

1.8 Can I share a private vehicle with someone from another household?

No. You can only travel in a private vehicle alone, or with members of your household.

1.9 Are day trips and holidays ok? Can people stay in second homes?

Day trips to outdoor open space, in a private vehicle, are permitted. You should practise social distancing from other people outside your household.

Leaving your home – the place you live – to stay at another home for a holiday or other purpose is not allowed. This includes visiting second homes.

Premises such as hotels and bed and breakfasts will remain closed, except where providing accommodation for specific reasons set out in law, such as for critical workers where required for a reason relating to their work.

1.10 Can students return to their family home if they’ve been in halls all this time?

In general, leaving your home – the place you live – to stay at another home is not allowed.

If a student is moving permanently to live back at their family home, this is permitted.

1.11 Is there a limit on the number of people attending funerals?

There is no change to the guidance on attending funerals at present.

1.12 Can weddings go ahead?

There’s no change at this time. We understand the frustration couples planning a wedding must be feeling, so we have set out our intention to enable small wedding ceremonies from 1 June. As with all coronavirus restrictions on places of worship, venues and social distancing, we will look to ease them as soon as it is safe to do so.

2. Vulnerable groups, shielding, 70 year olds and over, and care homes

2.1 Does easing restrictions apply to healthy 70 year olds and over?

The advice for those aged 70 and over continues to be that they should take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their household.

If they do go out more frequently, they should be careful to maintain distance from others. They and everyone should continue to comply with any general social distancing restrictions.

We know that those aged 70 and over can be absolutely fit and healthy and it’s not the case that everybody over 70 has a chronic health condition or an underlying disease.

But unfortunately, we also know that as you get older, there is a higher risk of coronavirus having a more serious impact with infection. Complications and deaths are more common in the elderly, even those without pre-existing conditions.

Anyone who has been advised to shield by the NHS or their GP, including those 70 and over, should continue to do this until at least the end of June.

2.2 How long will shielding be in place?

We’ve advised individuals with very specific medical conditions to shield until the end of June and to do everything they can to stay at home. This is because we believe they are likely to be at the greatest risk of serious complications from coronavirus.

We know this is challenging guidance to follow, which is why we have a support scheme in place to provide help with access to food and basic supplies, care, medicines and social support.

We are keeping the guidance to shielded people under review.

2.3 What safety standards will need to be put in place in care homes?

We have issued detailed guidance about infection control and staff safety in care homesto help admit and care for residents safely and protect care home staff.

This includes isolation procedures, PPE and infection control training for all staff, cleaning and how to provide personal care safely.

As with all of our advice, this guidance is kept under constant review and updated frequently, in line with the latest scientific evidence.

3. Going to work / Safer spaces

3.1 Who is allowed to go to work?

In the first instance, employers should make every effort to support working from home, including by providing suitable IT and equipment as they have been already. This will apply to many different types of businesses, particularly those who typically would have worked in offices or online.

Where work can only be done in the workplace, we have set out tailored guidelines for employers to help protect their workforce and customers from coronavirus while still continuing to trade or getting their business back up and running. We will be publishing even more detailed COVID-19 secure guidelines in the coming days, which has been developed in consultation with businesses and trades unions.

These ‘back to work’ guidelines apply to those in essential retail like:

  • supermarkets
  • those in construction and manufacturing
  • those working in labs and research facilities
  • those administering takeaways and deliveries at restaurants and cafes
  • tradesmen, cleaners and others who work in people’s homes
  • those who are facilitating trade or transport goods
  • and so on

Non-essential retail, restaurants, pubs, bars, gyms and leisure centres will remain closed. They will reopen in a phased manner provided it is safe to do so.

There are specific guidelines for those who are vulnerable, shielding, or showing symptoms.

3.2 What is a critical worker?

Critical workers are those working in health and care and other essential services, who can still take their children to school or childcare and can use hotels and other accommodation services for work related purposes – for example if they can’t get home after a shift or need to isolate from their families. This critical worker definition does not affect whether or not you can travel to work – if you are not a critical worker, you may still travel to work provided if you cannot reasonably work from home.

3.3 What is meant by the phased approach?

Not all forms of work will return to normal at once. People will have to prepare for a new type of normal. We need to make sure that any changes we do make are carefully monitored and that we aren’t doing anything to increase the risk of infection and push the Reproductive value (R0) above 1. R0 describes how many people on average will be infected for every one person who has COVID-19.

We will ensure that businesses have time to prepare their premises to operate as safely as possible.

We will set out more detail about the phasing in due course.

3.4 Will you open pubs / cinemas / hairdressers in July?

The roadmap sets out that some businesses (like pubs, cinemas or hairdressers) will not open until Step 3 is reached.

The government’s current planning assumption is that this step will be no earlier than 4 July and subject to further detailed scientific advice, provided closer to the time, on how far we can go. When they do reopen, they should also meet the COVID-19 secure guidelines.

3.5 What are the ‘Covid-Secure’ safety guidelines workplaces have to be put in place?

We have set out clear, practical steps that businesses should take to ensure their workplaces are safe and give their staff the confidence to return back to work. We will be publishing even more detailed COVID-19 secure guidelines.

These include how to keep as many people as possible safely apart from those they do not live with in various workplace settings.

3.6 Do people need to wear face coverings at work?

Face coverings are not compulsory. However, if you can, people are advised to wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces where social distancing is not possible or where you are more likely to come into contact with people you do not normally meet. For example, on public transport or in some shops. Face coverings can help us protect each other and reduce the spread of the disease if you are suffering from coronavirus, but not showing symptoms.

A face covering is not the same as the surgical masks or respirators used as part of personal protective equipment by healthcare and other workers; these should continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace such as health and care workers and those in industrial settings like those exposed to dust hazards.

3.7 Will a face covering stop me getting COVID-19?

The evidence suggests that face coverings can help us protect each other and reduce the spread of the disease if you are suffering from coronavirus, but not showing symptoms.

To protect yourself, you should continue to follow social distancing measures and isolation guidance and wash your hands regularly.

4. Workers’ rights

4.1 My employer is asking me to come to work but I’m scared.

Employers and staff should discuss and agree working arrangements.

Employers should make all efforts to help people to work from home where they can. But where work cannot be done at home, employers should take clear, practical steps to help protect workers and create safe places to work, such as shift working or staggering processes. To identify the precautions needed to manage risk, your employer should discuss the workplace risk assessment with you to identify the practical ways of managing those risks.

If you remain concerned that your employer is not taking all practical steps to promote social distancing then you can report this to your local authority or the Health and Safety Executive who can take a range of action, including where appropriate requiring your employer to take additional steps.

We are publishing further specific “COVID-19 Secure” guidelines on how to make workplaces safe, which have been developed in consultation with over 200 business leaders and trades union organisations.

4.2 What if they try to fire me because I won’t go to work but cannot work at home?

We urge employers to take socially responsible decisions and listen to the concerns of their staff. Employers and employees should come to a pragmatic agreement about their working arrangements.

If individuals need advice, they should approach ACAS where they can get impartial advice about work disputes.

5. Public Transport

5.1 Who is allowed to travel on public transport?

If you cannot work from home and have to travel to work, or if you must make an essential journey, you should cycle or walk wherever possible. Before you travel on public transport, consider if your journey is necessary and if you can, stay local. Try to reduce your travel. This will help keep the transport network running and allows people who need to make essential journeys to travel.

We’ll be setting out further guidance for passengers with more advice on how to stay safe during your journeys later this week.

5.2 Should people wear face coverings on public transport?

If you can, wear a face covering in an enclosed space where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet. This is most relevant for short periods indoors in crowded areas, for example on public transport or in some shops. The evidence suggests that face coverings can help us protect each other and reduce the spread of the disease if you are suffering from coronavirus, but not showing symptoms.

If people choose to wear them, we are asking people to make their own face coverings at home, using scarves or other textile items. We are publishing guidance to help illustrate the process.

We urge the public not to purchase medical or surgical masks as these should be reserved for health and social care workers.

5.3 Can I use public transport to get to green spaces?

You should avoid using public transport wherever possible.

6. Schools and Childcare

6.1 Can children go back to early years settings, schools or university?

We initially urge those who are currently eligible to use school provision (children of critical workers and vulnerable children) to attend. As soon as it is safe to do so we will bring more year groups back to school in a phased way when it is safe to have larger numbers of children within schools, but not before. Keeping children and staff safe is our utmost priority.

Schools should prepare to begin opening for more children from 1 June. The government expects children to be able to return to early years settings, and for Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 to be back in school in smaller class sizes from this point.

Secondary schools and further education colleges should also prepare to begin some face to face contact with Year 10 and 12 pupils who have key exams next year, in support of their continued remote, home learning.

The government’s ambition is for all primary school children to return to school before the summer for a month if feasible.

6.2 How will you make sure it is safe?

Schools can now operate if they are organised in a way that is compatible with minimising the spread of the virus. The next phase of measures will require the development of new safety standards to set out how physical spaces, including schools, can be adapted to operate safely.

We will publish guidance advising schools on reopening to ensure schools can adequately prepare for the next phase. One of the main protective measures we can take to reduce transmission is to have small consistent group and class sizes.

6.3 Will children be compelled to wear face coverings at school?

No this will not be required. We will publish further advice on protective measures in schools in the coming weeks.

7. Borders / international visitors

Please note – these measures will NOT come into force on Wednesday 13 May. We will set out further detail, including from when these will be in force, in due course.

7.1 Are you isolating people at the border now?

The scientific advice shows that when domestic transmission is high, cases from abroad represent a small amount of the overall total and make no significant difference to the epidemic. Now that domestic transmission within the UK is coming under control, and other countries begin to lift lockdown measures, it is the right time to prepare new measures at the border.

7.2 What is self-isolation and which countries will it apply to?

We will be asking people travelling to the UK to make some sacrifices to stop coronavirus cases from being imported. In the same way as people in the UK have made large sacrifices to control the spread of coronavirus.

So what we will be asking people to do on entering the UK is supply their contact details and details of their accommodation, and to self-isolate in their accommodation for 14 days, other than those on a short list of exemptions.

We will set out further details shortly.

7.3 Is this for foreign travellers only or British people returning home from holiday or living overseas?

All arrivals including British nationals will be required to provide their contact information and self-isolate upon arrival, other than those on a short list of exemptions.

8. Enforcement

8.1 How will police enforce the new rules?

The police and local authorities have the powers to enforce the requirements set out in law if people do not comply with them. The police will act with discretion and common sense in applying these measures, but if you breach the law, the police may instruct you to go home, leave an area or disperse, and they may instruct you to take steps to stop your children breaking these rules if they have already done so. The police can also take you home or arrest you where they believe it is necessary.

If the police believe that you have broken the law – or if you refuse to follow their instructions enforcing the law – a police officer may issue you with a fixed penalty notice of £100 (reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days), an increase of £40 from the previous £60 fixed penalty amount. If you have already received a fixed penalty notice, the amount for further offences will increase in line with the table below.

First offence £100
Second offence £200
Third offence £400
Fourth offence £800
Fifth offence £1600
Maximum penalty £3200

For both individuals and companies, if you do not pay your fine you could be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose unlimited fines.

9. Devolved administrations

9.1 Does this guidance apply across the UK?

This guidance applies in England – people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should follow the specific rules in those parts of the UK.

If you live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland additional guidance is available:

NCSC Assessment of new NHS tracing App

NCSC Assessment of new NHS tracing App

NHS COVID-19 is a new contact-tracing app that has been designed and built by the NHS to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Once you’ve installed the app, it will send you an alert if you’ve been in close contact with other users of the app who’ve reported that they’re experiencing coronavirus symptoms. This allows you to take steps to avoid passing the virus on (for example by self-isolating).

  • If you’d like to install the app (it’s entirely voluntary), you’ll be helping to slow the transmission of the coronavirus.
  • You can decide if you want to tell the app that you’re suffering from coronavirus symptoms.
  • The app does not collect any of your personal data.
  • Any information you choose to submit is protected at all times.
  • Any information you submit is deleted once it is no longer needed to help manage the spread of coronavirus.

How does the app work?

The NHS COVID-19 app was designed and built by the NHS digital team, and works like this:

  • Once you’ve installed the app on your phone, it can detect (using Bluetooth) if other phones that are also running the app are nearby.
  • Importantly, the app knows how close it has been to other phones running the app, and for how long. This allows the app to build up an idea of which of these phones owners are most at risk.
  • If you then use the app to report that you’re experiencing coronavirus symptoms, all the phones that have been nearby will receive an alert from the app.
  • Users reading the alert will now know they may have been near a person with coronavirus, and can then self-isolate.
  • If the NHS later discovers that your diagnosis was wrong (and your reported symptoms are not coronavirus), the other users will receive another alert, letting them know if they can stop self-isolating.

Please download and use the NHS COVID-19 app. Each time a user reports symptoms (or even just installs the app), it helps the NHS to warn people who may become ill, and builds a picture of how the coronavirus is spread across the country.

How do I install the app?

The NHS COVID-19 App currently only works on the Isle of Wight. More information can be found here:

You should only download the app, when available, from official stores:

What permissions does the app require?

For the app to work, you’ll be asked to allow Bluetooth and Notifications.

Please note that Bluetooth will only work on Android phones ifLocation Services are enabled, so you’ll be asked to turn this feature on.

The app does not collect any location data.

What information do I need to provide to use the app?

Once you’ve installed the app, you’ll need to register your phone.

You be asked for the first part of your postcode so the NHS can plan your local NHS response. The app also records your phone’s make and model, which it needs to accurately measure the distance between the phones of people who’ve installed the app.

Unlike most apps, you will not be asked for any other information at this stage (such as name or email). No personal information is collected.

In order for the app to work, all users are assigned a random installation ID by the NHS. The NHS securely stores the first part of your postcode, your installation ID, and your phone make and model. Since no personal information is collected or stored by NHS, it’s not possible to link the installation ID to you as an individual.

As an extra layer of security, the app creates a different daily ID. This keeps your installation ID private from other users you may interact with.

What can other people see?

The app automatically searches for nearby phones that are using the same app by using Bluetooth Low Energy (so it won’t drain your battery). If it finds one, the apps will exchange and securely log the following information:

  • the other app’s daily ID
  • the date of the encounter
  • the Bluetooth signal strength and power (used to estimate the distance between the phones)
  • the length of time the phones were in contact

If you meet the same person on another day, the apps will see different Daily ID and will treat it as a brand new encounter. This has been intentionally designed into the app.

What happens if I report symptoms?

If you report coronavirus symptoms, other users who you’ve been near may receive an alert in their app, telling them that they may have been exposed to coronavirus.

They will not be told who reported symptoms or when the contact occurred. This protects your privacy.

What data does the NHS collect?

If you choose to submit your symptoms to the NHS, and the symptoms indicate you might have coronavirus, you will be asked to send the details of the encounters your phone has collected.

If you give your consent, the app will securely send these details to the NHS digital team:

  • no other information is sent
  • only the NHS has access to the details
  • the details will determine if any of these encounters might have caused someone to be exposed to coronavirus; this will always be based on the latest medical research

The details you submit let the NHS know how many apps in a postcode area have reported symptoms (or may have been exposed). This will be used to plan your local NHS resources, and to help learn more about the spread of coronavirus.

The NHS can decrypt the daily IDs from the details you submit to find the Installation ID of any apps that need to be notified about possible exposure to coronavirus. The NHS sends these notifications securely to the apps assessed to be at risk, giving the appropriate advice.

Public Health England Pandemic Response Plan

Public Health England Pandemic Response Plan

Pandemic Influenza Response Plan: 2014 – Click Above for access to the full plan

About Public Health England

Public Health England exists to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities. It does this through advocacy, partnerships, world-class science, knowledge and intelligence, and the delivery of specialist public health services. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health.

Public Health England Wellington House 133-155 Waterloo Road London SE1 8UG

Tel: 020 7654 8000
Twitter: @PHE_uk

Prepared by: Nick Phin, John Simpson and Gaynor Marshall, with contributions from Hilary Moulsdale and Mike Laing
For queries relating to this document, please contact:

© Crown copyright 2014
You may re-use this information (excluding logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence v2.0. To view this licence, visit
OGL or email Where we have identified any third party copyright information you will need to obtain permission from the copyright holders concerned.

Published August 2014
PHE publications gateway number: 2014256


Pandemic Influenza Response Plan: 2014


About Public Health England 2 Foreword 5 1. Executive summary 6 2. Introduction 8

2.1 Aim 10 2.2 Objectives 10 2.3 Scope 10

3. Planning assumptions 12 3.1 UK response phases (DATER) 12 4.1 Business continuity during an influenza pandemic 16 4.1 business continuity impact 16 4.2 Human aspects 16 4.3 Risk management and mitigation 17 5. National incident response in an influenza pandemic 18 5.1 PHE national response 20 6. PHE national and local response arrangements during an influenza pandemic 22

6.1 Chief executive
6.2 Health Protection directorate
6.3 Operations directorate
6.4 Communications directorate
6.5 Human Resources
6.6 Finance and Commercial directorate 6.7 Health and Wellbeing directorate
6.8 Chief Knowledge Officer’s directorate 6.9 Strategy directorate
6.10 Programmes directorate

7. Governance arrangements 7.1 Assurance
7.2 Training and exercising


Pandemic Influenza Response Plan: 2014

Appendix 1: Planning assumptions 65 Appendix 2: Roles and responsibilities of the Department of Health, the NHS
and the Cabinet Office 66 Appendix 3: Roles of key partner organisations 68 Appendix 4: Summary of the epidemiology of pandemic influenza 70 Appendix 5: Summary of modelling work 72 Appendix 6: Summary of pandemic infection control assumptions 74 Appendix 7: World Health Organization global phases 76 Appendix 8: Mobilisation of the national stockpile of antivirals for

pandemic influenza preparedness
Appendix 9: The First Few Hundred
FF100 Appendix 10: Glossary
Appendix 11: Reference documents

78 85 87 88


Pandemic Influenza Response Plan: 2014


Duncan Selbie Chief Executive

The prospect of a flu pandemic is one of the highest risks faced by the UK. Ensuring the country is fully prepared and able to respond quickly and effectively is a top priority for PHE and, of course, for the government.

The 2009 H1N1 pandemic certainly tested our plans for dealing with a new pandemic strain. Fortunately it was a mild one, but we need to be confident that our planning and responses are sufficiently flexible to deal with every eventuality.

While the PHE Pandemic Influenza Strategic Framework (2014) describes the approach and overall responsibilities of PHE in a pandemic, this response plan further clarifies PHE’s role, responsibilities and response arrangements in each phase of a pandemic and links to the PHE National Incident and Emergency Response Plan (2013).

page5image4144310208 page5image4144310512


Pandemic Influenza Response Plan: 2014

1. Executive summary

Public Health England (PHE) is the expert national public health agency and a Category 1 responder. PHE’s first function is to fulfill the Secretary of State’s duty to protect the public’s health from infectious diseases and other public health hazards. The threat from pandemic influenza remains the top national risk and PHE has a core and critical role working with its local and national partners, in preparing for and responding to influenza pandemic.

This plan details PHE roles and responsibilities during the preparation for and response to a pandemic, and describes the response in the context of the overarching national arrangements set out in the Department of Health’s (DH) UK Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Strategy (2011) and Health and Social Care Influenza Pandemic Preparedness and Response (2012).

This PHE plan reflects the roles and responsibilities of all staff within all PHE directorates within the five pandemic phases: detection, assessment, treatment, escalation and recovery (DATER).

PHE recognises that generating and sustaining its pandemic response will only be possible with the support of all staff, such is the extensive nature of tasks. These include surveillance and epidemiological advice, specialist diagnostics, microbiology, statistics and modelling, the provision of expert clinical and infection control advice, communications, managing the national stockpiles of countermeasures, developing and validating new diagnostic tests, undertaking research, and procuring pandemic specific vaccine. This plan also takes into account lessons identified during the response to the 2009 pandemic.

This plan and the learning from the national multiagency pandemic influenza Exercise Cygnus in late 2014, will inform the further development of comprehensive and integrated plans in delivering an effective and sustainable response across the organisation. This system of cross-organisational working will deliver the resources, science and leadership required during the pandemic in order to support the staff and organisational response from local and national centres, and laboratories.