Today's news: Latest headlines for the UK on Wednesday 2 December

Stuart Henderson
·4-min read

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Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a virtual press conference inside 10 Downing Street in central London on December 2, 2020. - Britain on Wednesday became the first western country to approve a Covid-19 vaccine for general use, while Italy and Japan promised free inoculations for all even as the global death toll ticked towards 1.5 million. A mere 12 months after the pandemic began in China, the UK's independent medicines regulator gave its green light to the BioNTech-Pfizer drug in double-quick time but insisted safety had come first. (Photo by JOHN SIBLEY / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JOHN SIBLEY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Boris Johnson speaks at a Downing Street press conference (Getty)

— Today's top story in 60 seconds —

Who will get the COVID vaccine first?

What happened?

Vaccinations against COVID-19 will begin early next week after the UK became the first country in the world to approve a jab from Pfizer and BioNTech. The vaccine has been shown in studies to be 95% effective and works in all age groups. Health secretary Matt Hancock hailed the "fantastic news" and said "help is on its way".

Priority list revealed

The government confirmed that care home residents and their carers will be first in line to be vaccinated as it revealed its priority list. After that, frontline health and social care workers plus over-80s will be prioritised. After that, the list will be determined by age and how vulnerable individuals are. Two groups will not receive the vaccine – pregnant women and most children under the age of 16.

'Don't get your hopes hope'

Boris Johnson was careful to inject a sombre tone today, warning people not to “get their hopes up” about the speed of delivery - despite hailing the “unquestionably good news". It has also become apparent that the delivery of the new vaccine to care homes cannot happen yet because of logistical difficulties. There was also some suggested criticism of the UK, with the European Medicines Agency indicating that the UK had prioritised speed over public confidence in the vaccine.

Read more from our partners

PM warns 'don't get your hopes up' over vaccine speed (Guardian)

Who will get the vaccine first? (Sky News)

Care homes can’t get vaccine despite being top priority (HuffPost)

Q&A: Your Pfizer vaccine questions answered (Telegraph)

The big coronavirus stories today—

World Health Organization changes face mask advice

The WHO has updated its guidance on masks to encourage people in areas of suspected high transmission to wear non-medical masks in certain indoor spaces such as schools. Read the full story here (Evening Standard)

Council launches legal challenge over lockdown

Stratford-on-Avon District Council has issued a legal letter that states the government has made an “arbitrary and irrational” decision to place it under Tier 3 controls. Read the full story here (Yahoo UK)

Confusion deepens over 'scotch egg rule'

Confusion over whether a scotch egg is a substantial meal deepened today as a third cabinet minister failed to provide a clear answer. Matt Hancock said: "A scotch egg that is served as a substantial meal, that is a substantial meal.” Read the full story here (Evening Standard)

Morgan asks Hancock to have vaccine jab live on TV

The health secretary has agreed to join the Good Morning Britain presenter in being vaccinated live on the ITV programme, but said there would be a delay as other priority groups would be vaccinated first. Read the full story here (Huffpost)

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— What else happened today? —

Two injured after stabbing at M&S store

Two people have been stabbed in a Marks & Spencer store as England’s high streets returned to business following the coronavirus lockdown. Officers arrested a man who remains in police custody. Read the full story here (Yahoo News UK)

Trump 'discussed giving his children a pardon'

The US president has reportedly discussed preemptively pardoning his three eldest children and his son-in-law to shield them from potential prosecutions after he leaves office. Read the full story here (Telegraph)

EasyJet's drastic change to baggage allowance

Britain's biggest budget airline is to halve its cabin baggage allowance. Even more significantly, there is no option for an ordinary passenger to pay extra to bring a larger bag into the cabin. Read the full story here (Independent)

Huge telescope scaled by James Bond collapses

The 57-year-old telescope at Puerto Rico's Arecibo Observatory, which famously featured in GoldenEye, has been used to monitor the stars for more than half a century. Read the full story here (Sky News)

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(Yahoo News)
(Yahoo News)