UK approves Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine

UK approves Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine

Authorisation boosts hopes that millions more Britons can be inoculated in coming months

The UK drugs watchdog has approved the coronavirus vaccine made by Oxford university and AstraZeneca, boosting hopes that millions more Britons can be inoculated against the disease in the coming months as a new viral variant of Covid-19 takes hold.

AstraZeneca said on Wednesday the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency had given the jab an emergency authorisation, making it the first country to approve the vaccine. This will allow it to be rushed to patients, offering renewed optimism of taming the pandemic as the number of patients with Covid-19 in English hospitals reached an all-time high.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said the vaccine roll out would begin on January 4, with preparations made for its delivery in the coming days.

“We’ve got enough of this vaccine on order to vaccinate the whole population,” he told the BBC, adding the 100m doses the UK has purchased would cover the entire adult population. “By the spring, enough people will be protected to allow us to exit the pandemic,” he said.