United Kingdom government approves Astra-Oxford coronavirus vaccine

Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine approved for use in Britain - Xinhua | English.news.cn

UK puts millions more under tight restrictions as cases soar

Anna Marriot is Health Policy Manager at the aid group Oxfam. The new form has now been found in several countries, including the United States.

Britain's medicine regulator has approved the coronavirus vaccine co-developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca for use in the country, the British government said Wednesday.

Wei Shen Lim is chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation in Britain.

He added that he hoped many coronavirus restrictions would be lifted by spring, saying: "If we're right and the vaccination programme does have the positive effects that we think it can have - and I stress these are ifs - then clearly a lot of the non pharmaceutical interventions... will recede into the past".

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It comes as Ireland begins rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine. "Every person who is vaccinated brings us one step closer to normal". "It's very positive that we can predict that we will complete all vaccinations in nursing homes by the middle of February".

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said 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. Previously, the agency had not recommended the shot for pregnant women.

When patients were given two full doses, the Astra-Oxford vaccine was 62% effective in an advanced trial - less than the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and another from Moderna Inc.

The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is now undergoing a "rolling review" which allows the EMA to examine safety and efficacy data as they are released, even before a formal application for authorisation is filed by the manufacturer.

Britain has ordered 100 million doses from the vaccine's manufacturer AstraZeneca, enough to vaccinate 50 million people, the BBC said. "The second dose completes the course and is important for longer term protection". There are more people in hospitals with COVID-19 now than at the first peak of the outbreak in April. "But that is something which we have to look at".

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The World Health Organization could soon approve the AstraZeneca vaccine for use in a worldwide effort to help poor countries. It does not require extreme-cold storage that some other approved coronavirus vaccines need.

Partial results from studies in nearly 24,000 people in Britain, Brazil and South Africa suggest the AstraZeneca shots are safe and about 70% effective for preventing illness from coronavirus infection.

However, questions remain about how well the vaccine protects older people.

British regulators approved AstraZeneca's vaccine Wednesday, the first country in the world to do so, based in part on unpublished data. But none can be distributed until greenlighted by WHO.

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Novavax late this month kicked off a phase 3 study of its recombinant nanoparticle, adjuvanted vaccine in Mexico and the U.S. The study joins a slate of ongoing trials, including a phase 2b assessing safety and efficacy in South Africa, a pivotal phase 3 in the United Kingdom and an ongoing phase 1/2 in the U.S. and Australia. AstraZeneca has said it plans more clinical research to find out whether the results of the half-dose group hold up.

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