Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine approved for use in UK

Wednesday 30 December 2020

The Government has today accepted the recommendation from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for use in the UK.

Health secretary Matt Hancock confirmed the British Government had secured 100 million doses, the first of which will be administered as early as Monday.

The vaccine becomes only the second to be given regulatory approval in the UK following the Pfizer-BioNTech jab at the start of the month.

A statement on the UK Government website explains this authorisation “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.

“From today the NHS across the UK will prioritise giving the first dose of the vaccine to those in the most high-risk groups. With two vaccines now approved, we will be able to vaccinate a greater number of people who are at highest risk, protecting them from the disease and reducing mortality and hospitalisation.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the news as “a triumph for British science” whilst Matt Hancock tweeted that it was “brilliant to end 2020 with such a moment of hope.”

The health secretary also confirmed to BBC Breakfast this morning that Britain now has enough doses to vaccinate the entire nation with the exception of children.

Over 600,000 people in the UK have already been vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech jab. The vaccination operation will now ramp up in the face of growing coronavirus cases and the threat of tier escalation particularly across the south of England.