New Delhi (NVI): The Britain government today approved the coronavirus vaccine being developed by the Oxford University and AstraZeneca for emergency use in the United Kingdom.
AstraZeneca in a statement said, “The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) in UK authorized the emergency supply of COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca, formerly AZD1222, for the active immunisation of individuals 18 years or older.”
The first doses of the vaccine were being released today so that vaccinations may begin early in the New Year, it added.
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.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock in a statement said, “This is a moment to celebrate British innovation – not only are we responsible for discovering the first treatment to reduce mortality for Covid-19.
“This vaccine will be made available to some of the poorest regions of the world at a low cost, helping protect countless people from this awful disease,” he was quoted as saying in the statement.
AstraZeneca’s Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot also said, “Today is an important day for millions of people in the UK who will get access to this new vaccine. It has been shown to be effective, well-tolerated, simple to administer and is supplied by AstraZeneca at no profit.”
The company further said the authorisation recommends two doses administered with
an interval of between four and 12 weeks. This regimen was shown in clinical trials to be safe and effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19, with no severe cases and no hospitalisations more than 14 days after the second doses.
Meanwhile, AstraZeneca is working with its global partners to continue building manufacturing capacity of up to three billion doses of the vaccine globally in 2021.
This vaccine can be stored, transported and handled at normal refrigerated conditions (two-eight degrees Celsius/ 36-46 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least 6 months and administered within existing healthcare settings.
However, the shots are expected to be rolled out next week and would be added to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine which has so far been given to 6,00,000 people in the UK, as per the government data.