The UK’s medicines regulator on Friday approved the vaccine developed by Moderna, making it the third Covid-19 shot approved for use in the country after those developed by Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca, which have been administered to 1.5 million people so far.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said Moderna is the second mRNA vaccine (the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine approved in December 2020 is also an mRNA vaccine). The UK has ordered 17 million doses of the Moderna vaccine that is assessed to be 94% effective.
MHRA chief executive June Raine said: “Having a third Covid-19 vaccine approved for supply following a robust and thorough assessment of all the available data is an important goal to have achieved and I am proud that the agency has helped to make this a reality”.
“Once in use, all Covid-19 vaccines are continually monitored by the MHRA. This ensures that the benefits in protecting people against Covid-19 continue to far outweigh any potential side effects,” she added.
As agreed when the UK originally pre-ordered the vaccine, supplies will begin to be delivered from spring once Moderna expands its production capability, officials said. The vaccine will be available to people for free.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “Through our vaccine delivery plan we have already vaccinated nearly 1.5 million people across the UK. The Moderna vaccine will boost our vaccination programme even further once doses become available from the spring.”
The Moderna vaccine will be deployed through hospital hubs for NHS and care staff and older patients to get vaccinated; local community services with local teams and general practitioners s already signing up to take part in the programme; and vaccination centres across the country, ensuring people can access a vaccine regardless of where they live.
An official statement said that anyone with a previous history of allergic reactions to the ingredients of the Moderna vaccine should not receive it, but those with any other allergies such as a food allergy can have the vaccine.