The government has formally asked the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency to evaluate whether the supply of Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine can be authorised.
The move marks a significant first step in getting the vaccine approved for deployment, should it meet the regulator’s requirements.
The UK will be one of the first countries in the world to receive the vaccine, if authorised, with AstraZeneca expecting to have up to 4 million doses ready for the UK by the end of the year and 40 million by the end of March 2021.
The UK is the first country in the world to sign an agreement with Oxford University AstraZeneca, securing access to 100 million doses of the vaccine.
Earlier this week, the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca published their interim efficacy results, which indicated the vaccine was at least 70% effective in protecting individuals from COVID-19.
This rose to 90% effective when administered as half a dose, followed by a full dose – rather than 2 full doses.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:
“We are working tirelessly to be in the best possible position to deploy a vaccine as soon as one is approved by the independent regulator, the MHRA.
“We have formally asked the regulator to assess the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, to understand the data and determine whether it meets rigorous safety standards. This letter is an important step towards deploying a vaccine as quickly as safely possible.”
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