UK approves Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

UK approves Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine
The Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine arrives of clinical trails in India in AugustBCCL
  • The UK is the first country to approve the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for active immunisation.
  • The country has ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine and the vaccine is likely to start rolling out by January 4.
  • However, European watchdog has warned that there isn’t enough data to be giving the Oxford vaccine approval just yet.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine — also called the ‘jab’ — has been approved for mass vaccination in the UK. The country has already ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine, which are expected to start rolling out the vaccine from January 4.

"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," said the Health and Social Care department spokesperson.

MHRA’s authorisation for the emergency supply of Oxford covid vaccine is aimed at the active immunisation of individuals 18 years or older, according to AstraZeneca.

What does this mean for India?
This could spell good news for India, who has been keeping its eye on the UK, with its own approval of the vaccine is pending. As compared to the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is more suited to India’s cold storage infrastructure.

Vaccine candidates and the temperatures they need to survive:
VaccineCold chain
Pfizer/BioNTech-70 degrees Celsius
Moderna-20 degrees Celsius
Oxford/AstraZeneca2-8 degrees
Johnson and Johnson2-8 degrees
Novavax2-8 degrees
Source: Respective companies


The Serum Institute of India (SII) is hopeful that the India variant, called COVISHIELD, will receive the required regulatory approval in ‘few days.’

"We have 40-50 million doses of Covishield stockpiled. Once we get regulatory approvals in a few days, it will be down to the government to decide how much they can take and how fast. We will be producing around 300 million doses by July 2021," said Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla during a press conference on Monday.

However, officials at the European Medicines Agency (EMA) have warned that giving the vaccine approval at this stage is ‘unthinkable’.

"The data we have at the moment is not even enough to give the AstraZeneca vaccine a conditional authorisation," they told Belgian newspaper het Nieuwsblad. "We need additional data about the quality of the vaccine. And after that, the company has to formally apply.”

As of now, AstraZeneca recommends two doses administered with a gap of between four to 12 weeks.

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