Covid jab which is 94% effective becomes third to be approved in UK

A third coronavirus vaccine has been approved for use in the UK after regulators gave the Moderna jab the green light.

The US company’s shot is proven to be 94% effective against Covid-19.

The Government has ordered 17 million doses of the Moderna jab, but supplies will not be delivered until the spring.

This is because it is being manufactured in the US and it will take a few months before facilities in Europe will be able to distribute it.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock hailed the ‘great news’ saying the Moderna vaccine is ‘another weapon in our arsenal to tame this awful disease’.

He added: ‘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 Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) will submit updated advice on which groups to prioritise for vaccination before doses of the Moderna jab become available.

The good news comes as the country ramps up its mass immunisation programme amid the spread of a mutant variant of the disease.

The roll out of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab began this week after being cleared by regulators last month.

That followed the authorisation of the Pfizer vaccine.

The Government has set a target to deliver first doses to 15 million of the most vulnerable by February 15.

However a decision to delay second doses to make this happen has been criticised by some medics.

The Department of Health and Social care said it is putting into place extensive preparations for the roll out of the Moderna vaccine ahead of the Spring.

It added that more than 1,000 vaccination sites will be live by the end of the week as the UK rapidly scales up its vaccination programme.

The Government has secured early access to 367 million doses of seven of the most promising vaccines so far.

Vaccines have been hailed as key in putting an end to Covid restrictions as the country battles a second wave which is becoming more deadly than the first.

The UK’s deputy chief medical officer Johnathon Van Tam said the ‘highly effective Moderna vaccine’ is another ‘impressive success for science’.

But he remined people to stick to the rules as the immunisation programme gets under way.

He said: ‘This vaccine will save lives once doses become available, but it is crucial we all continue to follow the rules to protect each other until enough people have been protected.’

Moderna carried out trials on more than 30,000 adults in the US. American authorities have also approved the treatment.

The Moderna vaccine is much easier to distribute than the Pfizer jab, which must be stored at about -70C to maintain optimal efficacy.

Studies have shown it can last up to 30 days in household fridges, at room temperature for up to 12 hours, and r at -20C in freezers for up to six months.

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