The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved for use in the UK, with the first doses due to be given on Monday. There will be 530,000 doses available from next week, and vaccination centers will now start inviting patients to come and get the shot.
Priority groups for immunization have already been identified, starting with care home residents, the over-80s, and health and care workers. It comes as millions more in England are placed in tier four restrictions. The UK has ordered 100 million doses of the new vaccine – enough to vaccinate 50 million people. Eventually all over 50s and younger adults with health conditions will be offered a jab in the first phase of the rollout – more than 25 million people in total.
Oxford University researchers had already done a lot of work before 2020 on developing a vaccine which could be adapted to tackle different diseases. That meant a lot of the building blocks were already in place, and scientists weren’t starting from scratch. The vaccine has been through all the usual research stages, although for speed these have overlapped when they would usually happen one after another.
And the UK’s medicines regulator – the MHRA – has been carrying out a “rolling review” of data all year. The vaccine was approved for use by the MHRA on 30 December.
Well, we are hoping that the vaccine is rolled out to all and we finally get the doze.