UK approves Oxford/AstraZeneca as second vaccine for home use
London, Dec. 30, 2020 (AltAfrica)-The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has become the second coronavirus jab to be approved for UK use.
It has been given the go-ahead by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, codenamed AZD1222 or ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, was developed at Oxford University with support from the British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine will start to be rolled out from 4 January and that it will help “accelerate” vaccinating the nation
He said: “It’s very good news for accelerating the vaccine rollout. It brings forward the day we can get our lives back to normal
“I am now, with this approval this morning, highly confident that we can get enough vulnerable people vaccinated by the spring that we can now see the route out of this pandemic.
Although, he refused to put a figure on exactly how many people could be vaccinated in the new year.
But Mr Hancock did say the jab, which can be stored more easily than the Pfizer vaccine, means GPs and care homes will have better access to the vaccine.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “It is truly fantastic news – and a triumph for British science – that the vaccine has been approved for use. We will now move to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “The government has today accepted the recommendation from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to authorise Oxford /AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine for use.
“This follows rigorous clinical trials and a thorough analysis of the data by experts at the MHRA, which has concluded that the vaccine has met its strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.
“Now the NHS will begin putting their extensive preparations into action to roll out the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine.”
The government said the vaccine rollout will change slightly to focus on giving as many at-risk people as possible the initial vaccine dose.
People receiving the Oxford vaccine or the one from Pfizer/BioNTech, which is also being rolled out, will now receive their first dose of the vaccine followed by a second dose up to 12 weeks later.
This was confirmed by Mr Hancock who said the second dose is important to help boost “long-term coverage”.
A statement from the Department of Health said: “The JCVI has advised the priority should be to give as many people in at-risk groups their first dose, rather than providing the required two doses in as short a time as possible