The announcement has the potential to change the course of the Covid-19 epidemic in the United Kingdom: Wednesday, December 30, the British drug agency, the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency), announced in the early morning have given the green light to the use of the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, based in Cambridge. “This green light follows rigorous clinical tests, then an in-depth analysis of the data by MHRA experts, who concluded that the vaccine met all of its standards of safety, quality and efficacy”, the British government said in a statement.
“What a brilliant way to end 2020”, UK Health Minister Matt Hancock immediately welcomed on Twitter. “This is an extremely important moment in the fight against the pandemic, and it is good news for everyone”, he added on the BBC, confirming that the vaccination campaign would start on January 4, 2021. “It will keep pace with the manufacture of the vaccine”, warned the minister, who assured that the country would have, from next week, “Hundreds of thousands of doses”. The government has ordered 100 million in total.
The MHRA had already distinguished itself by being the first agency in the world to give the green light, on December 2, to the use of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine, and the vaccination campaign had started on December 8 in the United Kingdom. More than 600,000 people received their first injection of this vaccine, but the country’s authorities were betting heavily on the “British” vaccine, developed in part with public funds by the team of professors Sarah Gilbert and Andrew Pollard, at the university. from Oxford, in partnership with AstraZeneca.
“A considerable change”
And for good reason: this vaccine, whose effectiveness, according to Oxford, is “ on average 70.4% “ after two injections, is much cheaper than the Pfizer / BioNtech (£ 3, compared to at least £ 15). But above all, it can be stored in the refrigerator, unlike the first, which needs to be kept at very low temperature (- 70 ° C), which made the vaccination campaign very complex: the injections took place mainly in hospitals, and they were much more complicated to organize in retirement homes. “This is a considerable change, we will be able to keep the doses of Oxford / AstraZeneca in retirement homes”, said William Bird, a general practitioner, at the microphone of the BBC.
You have 57.99% of this article left to read. The rest is for subscribers only.