Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine: UK regulators have given green flag to use of Coronavirus vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. The vaccine is far cheaper and logistically practical to distribute than other vaccines against Coronavirus. This makes this vaccine candidate a viable option for a major part of world to fight the Covid-19 infection.
The approval was given by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) post weeks of assessment of trial data. The approval was welcomed with relief as the Oxford vaccine only requires normal refrigerator temperature of 2–8C as compared to Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requirement of -70C. This makes Oxford vaccine ideal candidate for smooth transport, distribution and storage in every nook and corner of country, as well as all over the world.
For Oxford vaccine, UK government is following a new strategy for immunization campaign — priority will be given to vaccinate the maximum number of people possible with the first jab of vaccine, followed by second dose that will be given 12 weeks later. This new strategy will also be extended to include Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine which is already rolled out in the country.
Commenting on the new strategy of vaccination, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, “This is important because it means that we can get the first dose into more people more quickly and they can get the protection the first dose gives you.”
The Oxford vaccine’s vaccination drive will start on 4th January, Monday with aim to inoculate millions in at-risk categories as quickly as possible. The fact that new coronavirus variant is highly contagious, the vaccination drive has become even more urgent. The Oxford vaccine’s ease of storage requirements will make pharmacists able to offer vaccination in chemist shops just like flu shots.
UK has ordered 100 million vaccine doses of the Oxford vaccine. Matt Hancock noted, “Because we’ve got enough of this vaccine on order to vaccinate the whole population — we’ve got 100m doses on order — add that to the 30m doses of Pfizer and that’s enough for two doses for the entire population.”
He added, “So I can say with confidence that we can vaccinate everyone, except of course for children because this vaccine has not been trialled on children, and anyway children are much, much less likely to have symptoms from the disease.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson too rejoiced taking on to Twitter, “We will now move to vaccinate as many people s quickly as possible.”