United Kingdom, Dec 30: Britain has become the first nation to approve the Oxford University-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday.
The coronavirus vaccine designed by scientists at the University of Oxford and produced by AstraZeneca was approved for human use by the UK’s independent regulator.
The United Kingdom government said that it has accepted a recommendation from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) it means the vaccine is both safe and effective.
The company aims to supply millions of doses in the first quarter as part of its deal with the UK government to supply up to 100 million doses in total.
The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) was already lining up thousands of medics and volunteers to be ready to deliver jabs across the country.
The authorization recommends two doses administered with an interval of between 4 and 12 weeks. This regimen was shown in clinical trials to be safe and effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19, with no severe cases & no hospitalizations more than 14 days after the second dose.
The vaccine has a tie-up with the Serum Institute of India as well and also being evaluated by the MHRA after the final cut of data was submitted by the government last Monday.
It comes as a senior UK scientist pinpointed the Oxford vaccine as a real gamechanger, which could see the country achieve herd immunity as a result of vaccination against the deadly virus by the summer months of 2021.
“The people that have been vaccinated will be protected within a matter of weeks and that’s very important,” Professor Calum Semple, a respiratory disease expert and member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), told to media.
Britain has ordered 100 million doses of the jab, with 40 million expected to be available by the end of March 2021.
AstraZeneca chief Pascal Soriot has stressed that researchers have found the “winning formula” using two doses of the vaccine, ahead of the final results being published.
He has raised hopes that the jabs are more effective and should be effective against a new variant of the coronavirus that is now causing havoc in most parts of the UK.