Oxford COVID-19 vaccine approved for emergency use in UK
The Oxford University/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for emergency supply in the UK, the country’s government said Wednesday. It follows the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines winning approval last month.
Like the other two, the Oxford vaccine will require two doses. In this case, the second shot should be administered between four and 12 weeks after the first.
The first person will get the Oxford vaccine on Jan. 4, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC, and the UK ordered enough to vaccinate the country’s entire adult population.
“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,” Hancock said in a statement.
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Unlike the Pfizer vaccine, which has to be kept in ultracold temperatures, the Oxford vaccine can be stored in “normal refrigerated conditions,” (like the Moderna one) AstraZeneca noted.
The approval comes after a “highly contagious” new coronavirus strain was detected in the UK last month, sending the country into a strict lockdown over the holiday season. This first US case of this new variant was discovered Tuesday, in Colorado.
The European Medicines Agency won’t assess the Oxford vaccine until January at the earliest because it hasn’t received an application from AstraZeneca, while US regulators are waiting for a late-stage trial to end, according to the Financial Times. Neither the European Medicines Agency nor the US Food and Drug Administration immediately responded to requests for comment.
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