UK Approves Moderna Vaccine, With Caveat Of Spring Rollout
The UK is the latest bloc to approve the candidate, but supplies are not expected to be delivered for a short while.

The United Kingdom has approved the mRNA vaccine developed by Moderna, securing an additional 10 million doses to its initial 7 million: but supplies aren’t expected until spring.

Despite procuring 17 million doses of the vaccine, a rollout isn’t anticipated for some time, with Moderna vaguely stating that “deliveries of the COVID-19 Vaccine … from Moderna’s dedicated non-US supply chain are expected to commence early in 2021”.

So far, around 1.5 million people in the UK – including almost a quarter of over-80s in England – have received at least one dose of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

The UK Government has said the current target is to vaccinate 15 million people by mid-February. It is not clear, however, if this means 15 million will have received both doses or a single dose. The country has been criticized by WHO and Pfizer for its decision to delay booster-doses.

Health Policy Watch was told this week that the Moderna vaccine appears to be able to reduce infection and therefore transmission of SARS-CoV-2, based on the limited data available. Both the Moderna and Pfizer candidates appear to share a similar efficacy of around 95%.

The UK is the latest bloc to approve the candidate. On Wednesday, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommended a conditional authorization which would mean countries across the European Union (EU) could begin immunizing their populations.

The Moderna vaccine was approved in the United States in December by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with its recommendation panel providing no opposition: a stark contrast to the 17-4 vote delivered for the European Pfizer vaccine.

Moderna’s statement can be read here, and the UK Government’s announcement is available here.

Image Credits: Moderna TX.

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