Moderna produces approved Covid-19 Vaccine in the UK
A third Covid-19 vaccine has been approved for use in the United Kingdom.
It is produced by Moderna, a U.S. company, and works similarly to the Pfizer vaccine already offered on the NHS.
The U.K. has ordered an additional 10 million doses of the vaccine, bringing the total order to 17 million, but deliveries are not expected until the spring.
About 1.5 million people in the U.K. have already received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
This includes almost a quarter of people over the age of 80 in England.
Vaccines are being given to the most vulnerable first, as set out in a list of nine high-priority groups, covering around 30 million people in the UK.
The prime minister has said the aim is to vaccinate 15 million people in the UK by mid-February, including care homes residents and staff, frontline NHS staff, everyone over 70 and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “This is further great news and another weapon in our arsenal to tame this awful disease.”
The UK had originally ordered 7 million doses of the Moderna jab, but has increased this by 10 million to get even more people immunised as quickly as possible.
In total, the UK has now ordered 367 million doses of vaccines to protect against Covid-19.
Nadhim Zahawi, vaccine deployment minister, said: “The NHS is pulling out all the stops to vaccinate those most at risk as quickly as possible, with over 1,000 vaccination sites live across the UK by the end of the week to provide easy access to everyone, regardless of where they live.
“The Moderna vaccine will be a vital boost to these efforts and will help us return to normal faster.”
The Moderna vaccine, an RNA vaccine like Pfizer’s, injects part of the virus’s genetic code in order to provoke an immune response.
It requires temperatures of around -20C for shipping – similar to a normal freezer.