NEWS of a potential coronavirus vaccine in the coming months has brought a surge of optimism around the world.

However, the public have been urged to exercise caution and manage expectations - the Prime Minister warned Pfizer's vaccine would need to be approved by regulatory bodies before use.

In Northumberland, Liz Morgan, Director of Public Health at the county council, was encouraged by the news - but urged residents to continue to follow the rules for now.

She said: "The news that a Covid 19 vaccine may become available in the next few months is encouraging.

"Whilst all the data still needs to be analysed and with approval from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency probably still a little way off, I'm hopeful this vaccine will have a significant impact on how we manage this pandemic.

"However, it's likely that we're still going to be living with Covid 19 for some time and the vaccine will be one component of the national strategy to keep people safe and well."

Hexham MP Guy Opperman said it had been a great week for science - but also urged people to stick to the rules.

He said: "News that we are one step closer to an effective vaccine gives us all hope for the future. However, there are still many hurdles to be cleared. For now, we all must continue to follow the rules and slow the spread of this virus.

"This has been a great week for science, and vaccines are just one of the weapons in the fight against the virus."

Many Hexham Courant readers reacted positively to the news.

Sharon Pringle said: "Anything to get back to how we were because this isn’t living anymore."

Paul Fletcher added: "I will get the vaccine as soon as I can. I'm not prepared to take the current risks to myself and to others, but of these were reduced by 90% I think I would.

"Of course if enough people take it the risks drop even lower as the virus cannot spread."