Britain approves use of AstraZeneca and Oxford COVID-19 vaccine - GulfToday

Britain approves use of AstraZeneca and Oxford COVID-19 vaccine


The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Britain on Wednesday became the first country in the world to approve AstraZeneca and Oxford University’s low-cost COVID-19 vaccine, raising hopes it will help tackle surging cases and ease pressure on creaking health services.

The independent Medicines and Healthcare products and Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said the vaccine “met its strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness”, and a roll-out was set for Jan.4.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who spent several days in intensive care with Covid earlier this year, called it “truly fantastic news” and “a triumph for British science.”

The British government on Wednesday also extended its toughest coronavirus restrictions to more than three-quarters of England’s population, saying a fast-spreading new variant of the virus has reached most of the country.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that at midnight the government’s top infection-warning level, Tier 4, would be expanded beyond London and the southeast to cover large swaths of central, northern and southwest England, including the major cities of Manchester and Birmingham.

The move will severely curtail New Year’s Eve celebrations in parts of England that are home to 44 million people, or 78% of the population.

Unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, the one from AstraZeneca and Oxford does not need to be stored at very low temperatures.

German officials made clear on Wednesday that they won’t be able to relax lockdown restrictions in early January as the country recorded more than 1,000 deaths in one day for the first time. That figure was likely swollen by delayed reporting but underlined the severity of the situation.

Germany, the European Union’s most populous country, shut restaurants, bars, sports and leisure facilities on Nov.2.


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