Matt Hancock appears emotional over coronavirus vaccine rollout
The drug was given approval by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and will prepare for a mass rollout across the country. Cheaper than the Pfizer drug, the UK has an initial order of 100 million doses of the vaccine. The vaccine will begin its rollout on January 4 in a vital boost for Boris Johnson as the new strain of the virus spreads rapidly across the country.
In data released earlier this month, the drug was found to be 90 percent effective when applied with half a dose and then a second full shot.
Like many of the drugs in the UK’s vaccine portfolio, it will require two jabs with some time in between.
A Department for Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “The Government has today accepted the recommendation from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to authorise Oxford University/AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine for use.
“This 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.”
Coronavirus: coronavirus vaccine approved
Coronavirus: The news will be a welcome boost to the UK
AstraZeneca chief executive, Pascal Soriot did state the data could even rise to 95 percent to match the drugs from Moderna and Pfizer.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has stated the drug will be given to all those at risk who have not received the Pfizer drug.
Initially, this will start with those in care homes and care home workers.
Crucially, the drug does not need to be kept at sub-zero temperatures like the vaccine produced by Pfizer.
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Coronavirus: The drug will be given to those at risk
Boris Johnson said today: “It is truly fantastic news – and a triumph for British science – that the Oxford /AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved for use.
“We will now move to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible.
Professor Andrew Pollard, the director of the Oxford Vaccine Group and chief investigator of the Oxford trial, said: “The regulator’s assessment that this is a safe and effective vaccine is a landmark moment, and an endorsement of the huge effort from a devoted international team of researchers and our dedicated trial participants.
“Though this is just the beginning, we will start to get ahead of the pandemic, protect health and economies when the vulnerable are vaccinated everywhere, as many as possible as soon possible.”
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Coronavirus: The vaccine will be rolled out from January 4
Coronavirus: Matt Hancock
Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, confirmed there will be a 12-week gap in between the first and second dose.
This could be crucial as many areas in the country see cases skyrocket due to the new strain of the virus.
Mr Hancock told Sky News: “The rollout will start on January 4 and will really accelerate into the first few weeks of next year.
“The NHS stands ready to deploy at the sort of pace that is needed to help us get out of this pandemic by the spring.
Coronavirus vaccine rollout
“The NHS will deliver the vaccine into people’s arms as fast as it can be produced.”
“We can see the pressures right now on the NHS and it is absolutely critical that people follow the rules and do everything they can to stop the spread, particularly of the new variant of this virus that transmits so much faster.”
The news of the virus comes ahead of Mr Hancock’s announcement on England’s tier system.
It is thought multiple areas could be moved into Tier 4 restrictions due to the rising infection rate.
Coronavirus vaccine: There will be a 12-week gap between doses
Hospitals in England have now reported extremely high case levels due to the new strain of the virus.
It is thought multiple areas could be moved to Tier 4 while a new Tier 5 level – where schools are closed – may also be introduced.
On December 29, the UK reported 53,135 cases of the virus across the country – the highest recorded by the Government this year.