Oxford coronavirus vaccine approved for use in the UK and will be rolled out within days

30 December 2020, 07:53 | Updated: 30 December 2020, 08:35

The Oxford designed vaccine has been approved
The Oxford designed vaccine has been approved. Picture: Getty Images

A second coronavirus vaccine will be rolled out within days.

The coronavirus vaccine designed by scientists at the University of Oxford has become the second jab to be approved for UK use.

The UK has already ordered 100 million doses from the manufacturer AstraZeneca which will be enough to vaccinate 50 million people.

This will lead to a huge expansion in the UK's immunisation campaign, which is aimed at getting life back to normal.

Results from extensive clinical trials showed that it is up to 90% effective in preventing COVID-19, which almost matched the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine currently being rolled out.

Matt Hancock has said the new vaccine will be rolled out within days
Matt Hancock has said the new vaccine will be rolled out within days. Picture: PA Images

Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed the Oxford vaccine will start to be rolled out from 4 January.

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He told Sky News: "It's very good news for accelerating the vaccine rollout. It brings forward the day we can get our lives back to normal.

"The vaccine is our way out of the pandemic."

The vaccine has been given the go ahead by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which means it is both safe and effective.

Unlike the Pfizer/BioNTech, it needs only normal refrigeration at 2-8C and is easily transported, which experts hope will quicken the rollout to GP practices and care homes.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was designed at the beginning of the pandemic and was first tested in April before going through large-scale clinical trials.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "It is truly fantastic news - and a triumph for British science - that the vaccine has been approved for use. We will now move to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible."

A Department of 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.

"Now the NHS will begin putting their extensive preparations into action to roll out the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine."

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