Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine gets emergency use authorisation in UK

Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine gets emergency use authorisation in UK

Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for emergency use in the UK, announced Astra Zeneca.

The UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has provided authorisation for an emergency supply of Oxford COVID vaccine for the active immunisation of individuals 18 years or older.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the rollout will start on 4 January “and will really accelerate into the first few weeks of next year”.

The UK has ordered 100 million doses from the manufacturer AstraZeneca – enough to vaccinate 50 million people.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was designed in the first months of 2020, tested on the first volunteer in April, and has since been through large-scale clinical trials involving thousands of people.

The authorisation recommends two doses administered with an interval of 12 weeks. The vaccine can be stored, transported and handled at normal refrigerated conditions requiring 2-8 degrees Celsius/ 36-46 degrees Fahrenheit, for at least six months and administered within existing healthcare settings.

It is the second jab to be approved in the UK after the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was given the go-ahead in December.

In India, Serum Institute of India (SII), the domestic maker of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, has already sought emergency use authorisation for COVID vaccine and is awaiting approval.

SII has already made 40 million to 50 million doses of the vaccine and will be able to ramp up capacity to around 100 million a month by March, said Adar Poonawalla in a statement.