Moderna vaccine becomes third Covid-19 jab approved for use in the UK

8 January 2021, 12:17 | Updated: 8 January 2021, 12:55

The Moderna vaccine has been approved for use in the UK
The Moderna vaccine has been approved for use in the UK. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

The Moderna coronavirus vaccine has become the third Covid-19 jab to be approved for use in the UK.

It follows the approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccines which are already being administered to the UK population.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “This is further great news and another weapon in our arsenal to tame this awful disease.

“We have already vaccinated nearly 1.5 million people across the UK and Moderna’s vaccine will allow us to accelerate our vaccination programme even further once doses become available from the spring.

“While we immunise those most at risk from Covid, I urge everyone to continue following the rules to keep cases low to protect our loved ones.”

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) authorised the Moderna vaccine following "months of rigorous clinical trials," the government said.

The vaccine is 94% effective in preventing the disease. The government has ordered a total of 17 million doses, however supplies "will begin to be delivered to the UK from Spring once Moderna expands its production capability."

Nearly 1.5 million people have been vaccinated in the UK to date, with the Pfizer and Oxford vaccines.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said he was "delighted" that a total of 17 million doses of the Moderna vaccine had been ordered, following news of its approval for use in the UK.

He tweeted: "NEW: the @Moderna_tx vaccine is authorised for use in the UK!

"I'm also delighted confirm the @beisgovukVaccine Taskforce has today secured a further 10m doses of their vaccine, taking our total order to 17m.

"Another huge step towards ending lockdown and returning to normal life."

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said approval of the Moderna vaccine was "great news".

He tweeted: "Vaccination is obviously now the huge national priority. Given the intense pressure the NHS is under it's vital NHS staff on frontline are vaccinated urgently."

Trials on more than 30,000 people in the US have shown the Moderna jab to be 94% effective in preventing coronavirus.

While this efficacy may drop over time, scientists have said the vaccine should protect against around nine in 10 cases of Covid-19.

Moderna has not identified any significant safety concerns and its vaccine has been approved for use in the US.