UK government secures additional 2 million doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

  • UK government has now secured 7 million doses of Moderna vaccine, which will be available in Europe as early as spring 2021
  • trials show vaccine is almost 95% effective
  • deal means the UK now has access to a total of 357 million doses of vaccines from 7 different developers

The UK government has today (Sunday 29 November) signed a deal for a further 2 million doses of Moderna’s promising vaccine candidate, bringing the total to 7 million doses for the UK.

Following today’s deal, the UK now has access to enough doses of Moderna’s vaccine candidate for around 3.5 million people.

To be approved for use in the UK, the Moderna vaccine must meet the strict standards of safety and effectiveness of the independent medicines regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). If it is approved, 7 million doses could start to be delivered to the UK as early as spring 2021 – the same timetable as other countries in Europe.

The latest agreement is part of the government’s strategy to develop a diverse portfolio of promising vaccine candidates. The government has now secured 357 million vaccine doses from 7 different developers, giving the UK the best possible chance of protecting the public from coronavirus as soon as possible.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said:

It is essential that we continue to bolster our portfolio of vaccine candidates to ensure we’re in the best possible position to protect the public once we see that breakthrough.

The UK was one of the first countries in Europe to sign a deal with Moderna, and I’m delighted we have been able to secure a further 2 million doses of their promising candidate for the British public.

On 16 November, Moderna published initial data showing that its candidate is nearly 95% effective in protecting against COVID-19, with no safety issues identified to date. The safety data is still to be released by Moderna to show whether the vaccine is both safe and effective. Moderna is currently conducting phase 3 clinical trials of its vaccine and is using mRNA vaccine technology.

Until all the necessary stages are completed and a vaccine has been approved for use by the medicine regulator, the MHRA, the public must continue to take necessary actions to keep themselves and their loved ones safe, including following the Hands, Face, Space guidance and other public health advice in line with the area they live in.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:

Every week, we are getting more positive news about the range of vaccines in development, and thanks to the work of our taskforce the UK has pre-ordered hundreds of millions of doses from those companies most advanced in their work.

This includes buying a further 2 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine, on top of the 5 million we’ve already secured.

With a wide range of vaccine candidates in our portfolio, we stand ready to deploy a vaccine should they receive approval from our medicines regulator, starting with those who will benefit most.

Chair of the government’s Vaccine Taskforce Kate Bingham said:

Since its inception in June, one of the most important stated aims of the Vaccines Taskforce has been to secure access to the most promising vaccines across a broad range of technologies – thereby increasing the chances of having a safe and effective prevention as soon as possible against COVID-19. Moderna’s vaccine was an important addition to our portfolio and securing an additional 2 million doses further adds to the protection we can provide to the public to end the pandemic.

Today’s deal follows the independent regulator’s confirmation this week that it has received the necessary data of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to progress their review into whether the vaccine meets the required standards. Encouraging results from the phase III trials of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca were also published this week.

Notes to editors

We have secured early access to over 357 million vaccines doses through agreements with several separate vaccine developers at various stages of trials, including:

  • 100 million doses of University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine – phase 3 clinical trials
  • 40 million doses of BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine – phase 3 clinical trials
  • 7 million doses of Moderna vaccine – phase 3 clinical trials
  • 60 million doses of Novavax vaccine – phase 3 clinical trials
  • 60 million doses of Valneva vaccine – pre-clinical trials
  • 60 million doses of GSK/Sanofi Pasteur vaccine – phase 1 clinical trials
  • 30 million doses of Janssen vaccine – phase 2 clinical trials

We have invested over £230 million into manufacturing any successful vaccine and an enormous amount of planning and preparation has taken place across government to be able to quickly roll out the vaccine, including ensuring we have adequate provision, transport, PPE and logistical expertise to do so. We are also working at pace to prepare for the delivery of any potential COVID-19 vaccination programme as quickly as possible.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will carefully and scientifically review the safety, quality and effectiveness data once it has all been submitted to determine how it protects people from COVID-19 and the level of protection it provides.

The data must include results from the lab and clinical trials; manufacturing and quality controls, product sampling, and testing of the final product.

Once they have thoroughly reviewed the data, the MHRA will seek advice from the government’s independent advisory body, the Commission on Human Medicines. They will critically assess the data too before advising the government on the safety, quality and effectiveness of any potential vaccine.

The MHRA is globally recognised for requiring the highest standards of safety, quality and effectiveness for any vaccine.


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