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8 Dec, 2020 09:59

Hancock hopes UK’s AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine will be approved in weeks as first Britons vaccinated with Pfizer jab

Hancock hopes UK’s AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine will be approved in weeks as first Britons vaccinated with Pfizer jab

The British Health Minister has said the government is expecting the vaccine made by UK pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca to be approved by the independent regulator “in the next couple of weeks.”

Speaking on Tuesday, Health Minister, Matt Hancock, told BBC News there was hope that a second vaccine would be approved for roll-out in the UK this month.

“We very much hope that that will get approval ... We hope that will come through in the next couple of weeks,” Hancock told the BBC.

The vaccine, developed by Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, is currently being evaluated by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) as part of a rolling review.

“It has to be a decision for the independent MHRA, who will only approve it if it is safe to use and effective. So that work is underway. And I wouldn’t expect anything for the next couple of weeks,” the minister added.

Also on rt.com London asks regulator to assess Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine amid concerns over trial’s robustness

The UK government formally asked the MHRA to review the AstraZeneca vaccine on November 27, following interim trial data.

The data showed that when the half dose was given before a full dose, the vaccine proved to be up to 90 percent effective against Covid-19. However, efficacy fell to 62 percent in the trial group that received two full doses of the vaccine.

Meanwhile Pfizer’s jab, now approved for use in the UK, reported 95 percent efficacy.

However, it should be noted that Pfizer and Moderna captured Covid-19 infections among participants only when the virus had advanced far enough to produce symptoms. In contrast, AstraZeneca conducted weekly swab tests among its trial participants, allowing the detection of less severe and potential asymptomatic infections. 

Also on rt.com 90-yo woman becomes first person in UK to receive newly-approved Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine

The announcement came on Tuesday morning as the first Britons were vaccinated against Covid-19 with Pfizer’s vaccine.

The UK is the only country thus far to have approved the US company’s jab for mass roll-out.

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