The United Kingdom on Wednesday became the first country in the world to approve the coronavirus vaccine developed by the British drugmaker AstraZeneca and its partner, the University of Oxford.
The government has already ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine, which will start being administered on Monday, beginning with those most at risk from COVID-19. Britain was also the first to approve the COVID vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech.
AstraZeneca has been facing criticism about its Covid-19 vaccine trial results after acknowledging a manufacturing error. Surprisingly, the group of volunteers that got a lower dose seemed to be much better protected than the volunteers who got two full doses of the vaccine.
The UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, however, approved the regimen of two full doses. An official explained that the vaccine’s effectiveness had risen when the doses were given three months apart.
“I am also now, with this approval this morning, highly confident that we can get enough vulnerable people vaccinated by the spring that we can now see our route out of this pandemic”, health secretary Matt Hancock said.