UK approves Moderna as third Covid vaccine, as virus out of control in London
London, Jan. 8, 2021 (AltAfrica)-A third Covid vaccine has been approved for use in the UK. It is made by US company Moderna and works in a similar way to the Pfizer one that is already being offered on the NHS.
The approval came same day the spread of Covid in London is “out of control” according to Sadiq Khan, who has declared a “major incident”.
It comes as the coronavirus infection rate in London has exceeded 1,000 per 100,000 people.
The UK has ordered an extra 10 million doses of this vaccine, taking the total order to 17 million, but supplies are not expected to arrive until spring.
Around 1.5 million people in the UK have had at least one dose of Covid vaccine so far.
That includes almost a quarter of those aged over 80 in England.
Major incidents have previously been called for the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017 and the terror attacks at Westminster Bridge and London Bridge.
Currently, there are more than 7,000 people in hospital with Covid-19, the mayor said.
This is a 35% increase compared to the previous peak of the pandemic, Mr Khan added.
A major incident is defined as an event or situation with a range of serious consequences which requires special arrangements to be implemented by one or more emergency responder agency.
The mayor of London’s announcement comes after the counties of Sussex and Surrey declared similar major incidents on Thursday.
Vaccines are being given to the most vulnerable first, as set out in a list of nine high-priority groups, covering around 30 million people in the UK.
The prime minister has said the aim is to vaccinate 15 million people in the UK by mid-February, including care homes residents and staff, frontline NHS staff, everyone over 70 and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “This is further great news and another weapon in our arsenal to tame this awful disease.”
The UK had originally ordered 7 million doses of the Moderna jab, but has increased this by 10 million to get even more people immunised as quickly as possible.
In total, the UK has now ordered 367 million doses of vaccines to protect against Covid-19.
Nadhim Zahawi, vaccine deployment minister, said: “The NHS is pulling out all the stops to vaccinate those most at risk as quickly as possible, with over 1,000 vaccination sites live across the UK by the end of the week to provide easy access to everyone, regardless of where they live.
“The Moderna vaccine will be a vital boost to these efforts and will help us return to normal faster.” BBC