The UK on Wednesday approved Oxford University-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
AstraZeneca, in a statement, said that the first doses are being released so that vaccinations may begin early in the new year.
“The UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has provided authorisation for an emergency supply of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, formerly AZD1222.
”This is for the active immunisation of individuals 18 years or older,” the company said.
The authorisation recommends two doses administered with an interval of between four and 12 weeks.
This regimen was shown in clinical trials to be safe and effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19, with no severe cases and no hospitalisations more than 14 days after the second dose.
The company said it aims to supply millions of doses in the first quarter as part of an agreement with the government to supply up to 100 million doses in total.
“Today is an important day for millions of people in the UK who will get access to this new vaccine. It has been shown to be effective, well-tolerated, simple to administer, and is supplied by AstraZeneca at no profit.
”We would like to thank our many colleagues at AstraZeneca, Oxford University, the UK government, and the tens of thousands of clinical trial participants,” it quoted Chief Executive Officer, Pascal Soriot, as saying.
Matt Hancock, UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said that the vaccine would be made available to some of the poorest regions of the world.
Hancock said the vaccine will be available at a low cost, helping protect countless people from this “awful” disease.
“I want to thank every single person who has been part of this British success story.
”While it is a time to be hopeful, it is so vital everyone continues to play their part to drive down infections,” he said.