UK approves Oxford COVID-19 vaccine after daily record cases


Britain on December 30 became the first nation to approve the Oxford University-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

The United Kingdom government said that it has accepted a recommendation from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) “to authorise Oxford University/AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine for use”.

The rollout is expected to begin as early as next week.

This comes after the country reported 53,135 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the highest number since mass testing started in mid-2020 and up sharply from the previous record of 41,385 set on Monday.

AstraZeneca, in a statement, said that first doses of the vaccine are being released so that vaccinations may begin early in the New Year.

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, it added.

The authorisation 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 hospitalisations more than 14 days after the second dose, AstraZeneca said.

The vaccine is expected to be relied on in many countries because of its low cost, availability and ease of use. It can be kept in refrigerators rather than the ultra-cold storage other vaccines require.

The Oxford vaccine has become the second COVID-19 vaccine in use in Britain. On December 2, regulators gave similar emergency authorization to one from US drugmaker Pfizer and German partner BioNTech.


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