Moderna coronavirus vaccine becomes the third approved for use in the UK

Staff at CSL are working in the lab on November 08, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia, where they will begin manufacturing AstraZeneca-Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine.

Darrian Traynor | Getty Images

LONDON — The U.K.’s medicines regulator approved Moderna‘s coronavirus vaccine on Friday for emergency use in the country.

It is the third shot that has been authorized in Britain, following earlier approvals for the vaccines from Pfizer and BioNTech, and Oxford University and AstraZeneca.

In a release, the country’s Department of Health said the Moderna vaccine meets the “strict standards of safety, efficacy and quality” of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.

It added that the U.K. had ordered an extra 10 million doses of the vaccine, taking its total to 17 million. They are expected to available from the spring.

The MHRA authorized the Moderna vaccine after months of rigorous clinical trials involving tens of thousands of people, the release said. It added that it is 94% effective in preventing Covid, including in the elderly.

“This is further great news and another weapon in our arsenal to tame this awful disease,” Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said in a statement.

The U.K. has already vaccinated around 1.5 million people and Hancock said Friday’s approval will allow the country to accelerate its vaccination program further.

Britain has reported almost 2.9 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and over 78,600 related deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The country is currently battling with a new strain of the virus which is more transmissible and on Thursday, it reported its second-highest number of daily deaths from Covid at 1,162.

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