The UK approved Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine Friday, making it the third coronavirus shot to be rolled out in the country.
The Covid-19 vaccine, which works in a similar way to the Pfizer shot, was given regulatory approval for supply by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), according to a statement by the UK government.
The upstart biotech said in November that its experimental coronavirus vaccine was 94% effective at preventing Covid-19 in its late-stage trial involving 30,000 people.
The UK government has ordered seven million doses of the vaccine with an extra 10 million expected to follow. But it’s unlikely to roll out before March.
Almost 1.5 million people in the UK have already been vaccinated with either the Pfizer BioNTech and Oxford University and AstraZeneca vaccines which were approved last year.
The approval comes two days after the European Commission authorized Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine in Europe, after it was recommended by the EU’s vaccine regulator. It’s the second shot to be given the green light in Europe.
The UK’s health and social care secretary Matt Hancock tweeted Friday: “This is further great news and another weapon in our arsenal to tame this awful disease.”
The vaccine deployment minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “The NHS is pulling out all the stops to vaccinate those most at risk as quickly as possible, with over 1,000 vaccination sites live across the UK by the end of the week to provide easy access to everyone, regardless of where they live.”
“The Moderna vaccine will be a vital boost to these efforts and will help us return to normal faster,” Zahawi said.