Oxford coronavirus vaccine approved in UK with ‘millions to get jab within weeks’

Reprint – Adapted

It could lead to an end to lockdown by February with 15 million people most at risk of dying or getting seriously ill with coronavirus having reportedly been identified for urgent inoculationmirror

By Abigail O’Leary & Ryan Merrifield Updated 07:57, 30 DEC 2020

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/breaking-oxford-coronavirus-vaccine-approved-23228554

Matt Hancock on Oxford vaccine “It brings forward the day we can all get our lives back to normal”

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/breaking-oxford-coronavirus-vaccine-approved-23228554

A Covid-19 vaccine from Oxford University and AstraZeneca has been approved for use in the UK, paving the way for mass rollout.

The jab, which has been described as a “game-changer”, was given the green light by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The UK has ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine – enough to vaccinate 50 million people, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirming a January 4 rollout.

He called it “fantastic news”, adding vaccinations could “really accelerate” in the coming weeks.

It comes hours before today’s coronavirus tier review could plunge 15 million more people in the toughest restrictions as early as tonight, it is claimed.

The Oxford University and AstraZeneca have been approved for emergency use in the UK (Image: Getty Images)
Related Articles
Essex authorities declare major incident as coronavirus cases overtake first wave

Two-thirds of the country could reportedly move into Tier 4, potentially as soon as midnight.

Pressure has mounted on the Government to act as hospitals across England warned of increasing strains on services due to Covid-19 patient numbers.

Admissions have reached their highest levels during the pandemic, while 51,135 further cases and 414 deaths were reported on Tuesday.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock speaking on Wednesday morning
Health Secretary Matt Hancock speaking on Wednesday morning

Mr. Hancock said he couldn’t put a figure on the exact number of jabs that will be given but emphasised two vaccines means “we can go faster than previously”.

“Also because this Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine doesn’t have to be kept at that ultra-low temperature, it means it’s easier to distribute, for instance in GP settings and in care homes,” he continued.

“The vaccine is our way out of this pandemic so it brings forward the day on which we can all get our lives back to normal.”

The new jab is easier to distribute than the existing Pfizer one (Image: PA)

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens this week said approval of the Oxford vaccine, weeks after the Pfizer inoculation was greenlit, sets the UK on track to vaccinate “all vulnerable people” by late spring.

This could amount to as many as 22 million people, with official guidelines listing all those over 50 as among the “vulnerable”.

In turn, lockdowns and tiers could be scrapped as soon as February.

Also this morning local authorities in Essex have declared a “major incident” as the number of coronavirus cases threatens to overwhelm health services in the county.

(Image: Getty Images)

Figures from NHS England showed there were 21,787 patients in NHS hospitals in England as of 8 a.m. on Tuesday, compared with 20,426 on Monday, and 18,974 at the first wave peak on April 12.

Five of the seven NHS regions in England are currently reporting a record number of Covid-19 hospital patients: Eastern England, London, the Midlands, south-east England, and south-west England.

The other two regions, north-east and north-west England, remain below peak levels that were set in mid-November.

The new jab is easier to distribute than the existing Pfizer one (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

Referring to the Oxford vaccine, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “The Government has today accepted the recommendation from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to authorise Oxford University/AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine for use.

“This follows rigorous clinical trials and a thorough analysis of the data by experts at the MHRA, which has concluded that the vaccine has met its strict standards of safety, quality, and effectiveness.”

Data published in The Lancet medical journal in early December showed the vaccine was 62% effective in preventing Covid-19 among a group of 4,440 people given two standard doses of the vaccine when compared with 4,455 people given a placebo drug.

Of 1,367 people given a half first dose of the vaccine followed by a full second dose, there was 90% protection against Covid-19 when compared with a control group of 1,374 people.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson with a vial of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine (Image: Getty Images)

The overall Lancet data, which was peer-reviewed, set out full results from clinical trials of more than 20,000 people.

Among the people given the placebo drug, 10 were admitted to hospital with coronavirus, including two with severe Covid which resulted in one death.

But among those receiving the vaccine, there were no hospital admissions or severe cases.

The half dose followed by a full dose regime came about as a result of an accidental dosing error.

However, the MHRA was made aware of what happened and clinical trials for the vaccine were allowed to continue.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot suggested that further data submitted to the regulator showed the vaccine could match the 95% efficacy achieved by the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.

“We think we have figured out the winning formula and how to get efficacy that, after two doses, is up there with everybody else,” he said.

On Monday, Calum Semple, professor of outbreak medicine at the University of Liverpool and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), described the vaccine as a “game-changer” but said it would take until summer to vaccinate enough people for herd immunity – when the virus struggles to circulate.

“To get the wider community herd immunity from vaccination rather than through natural infection will take probably 70% to 80% of the population to be vaccinated, and that, I’m afraid, is going to take us right into the summer, I expect,” he said.

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Reprint – Adapted

It could lead to an end to lockdown by February with 15 million people most at risk of dying or getting seriously ill with coronavirus having reportedly been identified for urgent inoculationmirror

By Abigail O’Leary & Ryan Merrifield Updated 07:57, 30 DEC 2020

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/breaking-oxford-coronavirus-vaccine-approved-23228554

Matt Hancock on Oxford vaccine “It brings forward the day we can all get our lives back to normal”

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/breaking-oxford-coronavirus-vaccine-approved-23228554

A Covid-19 vaccine from Oxford University and AstraZeneca has been approved for use in the UK, paving the way for mass rollout.

The jab, which has been described as a “game-changer”, was given the green light by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The UK has ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine – enough to vaccinate 50 million people, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirming a January 4 rollout.

He called it “fantastic news”, adding vaccinations could “really accelerate” in the coming weeks.

It comes hours before today’s coronavirus tier review could plunge 15 million more people in the toughest restrictions as early as tonight, it is claimed.

The Oxford University and AstraZeneca have been approved for emergency use in the UK (Image: Getty Images)
Related Articles
Coronavirus review to plunge ’15m more people into Tier 4 on New Year’s Eve’
Essex authorities declare major incident as coronavirus cases overtake first wave

Two-thirds of the country could reportedly move into Tier 4, potentially as soon as midnight.

Pressure has mounted on the Government to act as hospitals across England warned of increasing strains on services due to Covid-19 patient numbers.

Admissions have reached their highest levels during the pandemic, while 51,135 further cases and 414 deaths were reported on Tuesday.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock speaking on Wednesday morning
Health Secretary Matt Hancock speaking on Wednesday morning

Mr. Hancock said he couldn’t put a figure on the exact number of jabs that will be given but emphasised two vaccines means “we can go faster than previously”.

“Also because this Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine doesn’t have to be kept at that ultra-low temperature, it means it’s easier to distribute, for instance in GP settings and in care homes,” he continued.

“The vaccine is our way out of this pandemic so it brings forward the day on which we can all get our lives back to normal.”

The new jab is easier to distribute than the existing Pfizer one (Image: PA)

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens this week said approval of the Oxford vaccine, weeks after the Pfizer inoculation was greenlit, sets the UK on track to vaccinate “all vulnerable people” by late spring.

This could amount to as many as 22 million people, with official guidelines listing all those over 50 as among the “vulnerable”.

In turn, lockdowns and tiers could be scrapped as soon as February.

Also this morning local authorities in Essex have declared a “major incident” as the number of coronavirus cases threatens to overwhelm health services in the county.

(Image: Getty Images)

Figures from NHS England showed there were 21,787 patients in NHS hospitals in England as of 8 a.m. on Tuesday, compared with 20,426 on Monday, and 18,974 at the first wave peak on April 12.

Five of the seven NHS regions in England are currently reporting a record number of Covid-19 hospital patients: Eastern England, London, the Midlands, south-east England, and south-west England.

The other two regions, north-east and north-west England, remain below peak levels that were set in mid-November.

The new jab is easier to distribute than the existing Pfizer one (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

Referring to the Oxford vaccine, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “The Government has today accepted the recommendation from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to authorise Oxford University/AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine for use.

“This follows rigorous clinical trials and a thorough analysis of the data by experts at the MHRA, which has concluded that the vaccine has met its strict standards of safety, quality, and effectiveness.”

Data published in The Lancet medical journal in early December showed the vaccine was 62% effective in preventing Covid-19 among a group of 4,440 people given two standard doses of the vaccine when compared with 4,455 people given a placebo drug.

Of 1,367 people given a half first dose of the vaccine followed by a full second dose, there was 90% protection against Covid-19 when compared with a control group of 1,374 people.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson with a vial of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine (Image: Getty Images)

The overall Lancet data, which was peer-reviewed, set out full results from clinical trials of more than 20,000 people.

Among the people given the placebo drug, 10 were admitted to hospital with coronavirus, including two with severe Covid which resulted in one death.

But among those receiving the vaccine, there were no hospital admissions or severe cases.

The half dose followed by a full dose regime came about as a result of an accidental dosing error.

However, the MHRA was made aware of what happened and clinical trials for the vaccine were allowed to continue.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot suggested that further data submitted to the regulator showed the vaccine could match the 95% efficacy achieved by the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.

“We think we have figured out the winning formula and how to get efficacy that, after two doses, is up there with everybody else,” he said.

On Monday, Calum Semple, professor of outbreak medicine at the University of Liverpool and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), described the vaccine as a “game-changer” but said it would take until summer to vaccinate enough people for herd immunity – when the virus struggles to circulate.

“To get the wider community herd immunity from vaccination rather than through natural infection will take probably 70% to 80% of the population to be vaccinated, and that, I’m afraid, is going to take us right into the summer, I expect,” he said.