Coronavirus: Vaccine Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid approved for use in the United Kingdom

Coronavirus: Vaccine Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid approved for use in the United Kingdom

In particular, United Kingdom public health officials have drawn attention to the similarities between the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines, both of which target the virus spike protein.

The UK protocol now states that a person can receive their follow-up COVID-19 jab with a different vaccine candidate to their first dose, if necessary.

Amidst growing pressure over sufficient supplies of COVID-19 vaccines in the United Kingdom, pharmaceutical companies have hit back at government claims that access to enough jabs was a "limiting factor", insisting there was no issue at their end.

The company had said it aims to supply millions of doses in the first quarter, adding that first vaccinations are slated to begin this year. Countries including Britain, Canada and the United States okayed the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine earlier and have since also green-lighted jabs by USA firm Moderna or Oxford/AstraZeneca, leaving the EU's inoculation drive lagging behind. Instead they can be stored in refrigerators, making them more feasible for the country.

The inactivated vaccine, which got the approval from the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA), is developed by the Beijing Biological Products Institute Co., Ltd. under the China National Biotec Group (CNBG), which is affiliated with Sinopharm.

"WHO and our partners are working night and day to evaluate other vaccines that have reached safety and efficacy standards", Dr Simao said.

The US fell far short of its target of vaccinating 20 million people by the end of 2020, with just 2.78 million having received a jab by 30 December.

Even so, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine's challenging storage and delivery requirements, including keeping it at minus 70 degrees Celsius, have made deliveries challenging in western countries, and may pose bigger hurdles for developing nations without adequate infrastructure.

Hundreds of new vaccination sites are due to be up and running this week as the NHS ramps up its Covid-19 immunisation programme with the newly approved Oxford University and AstraZeneca jab.

SJBPH has not started any sign up or waiting lists, Jollon said, because the health department doesn't know what the structure will look like for distributing the vaccine to the general public until the state provides guidance.

The Minister said on Twitter on Saturday that the first vaccines administered this week marked "a hugely important milestone".

But with several now available, countries need to decide who should get which vaccine, as some people may prefer the shots with higher efficacy.

"The excess could not be returned to the distribution center", she said in an email.

"There may be extremely rare occasions where the same vaccine is not available, or where it is not known what vaccine the patient received".

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