AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine approved in the UK

The vaccine that was developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca has been approved in the UK.

The vaccine will be rolled out on 4 Monday and the government has ordered 100 million doses – enough to vaccinate 50 million people.

The rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is a relief for many as it is cheaper and easier to store than the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine requires storage temperatures of -70C, whilst the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored at normal fridge temperatures.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said: “Everyone will still receive their second dose and this will be within 12 weeks of their first. The second dose completes the course and is important for longer-term protection.”

The vaccine will be rolled out following a series of “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.”

AstraZeneca has said that the vaccine is not being made for a profit and will be available for the world’s poorer countries.

Chief executive, Pascal Soriot, said on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Vaccination will start next week and we will get to 1m a week and beyond that a week very rapidly.The good news with this is we are going to be able to inject a lot of people with one dose very quickly, provide them with a reasonably good dose of protection until they get their second dose two to three months later. That will enable us to protect many more people because we can wait two to three months for the second dose.”

Analysts from AJ Bell commented on what the rollout of the vaccine would mean for markets: “Buoyed by news of mass inoculation on the UK and other countries, as well as ongoing fiscal and monetary support for economies from governments and central banks, markets seem to be leaning toward this scenario right now, with some investors openly debating the return of inflation.”