Britain’s health regulator has approved a second coronavirus vaccine in what is likely to be a gamechanger in the fight against the pandemic.
The UK government announced on Wednesday that the Oxford University/AstraZeneca has been approved for use by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. It will roll out from January 4.
“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,” the Department of Health and Social Care said.
Britain has ordered 100M doses of the jab, which will be enough to vaccinate 50M of the country’s population of 67M. A big advantage of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca is that it can be stored in the fridge, unlike the first vaccine approved — the Pfizer/BioNTech jab — which has to be stored at -70C.
The approval comes as the UK recorded 53,000 new cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday, the biggest ever daily case count, as a brutal second wave continues to sweep the nation. Hospitals are struggling to cope with the influx of patients amid reports of people being treated in ambulances.
The majority of new cases are the result of a new, faster-spreading variant, of the disease. The government is likely to move most of the country into Tier 4, the highest-level of coronavirus restrictions.
Commenting on the approval of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
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