Monday, January 25, 2021
Home Covid-19 Covid-19: Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine approved for use in UK

Covid-19: Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine approved for use in UK


#By #James #Gallagher
#Health and science correspondent

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image copyright#Reuters

The coronavirus vaccine designed by scientists at the #University of #Oxford has been approved for use in the UK.

#It will lead to a massive expansion in the UK’s immunisation campaign – aimed at getting life back to normal.

#Health #Secretary #Matt #Hancock said the rollout will start on 4 #January “and will really accelerate into the first few weeks of next year”.

The UK has ordered 100 million doses from the manufacturer #AstraZeneca – enough to vaccinate 50 million people.

The approval, by the medicines regulator, means the vaccine is both safe and effective.

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The #Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was designed in the first months of 2020, tested on the first volunteer in #April, and has since been through large-scale clinical trials involving thousands of people.

  • #Oxford vaccine: #How did they make it so fast?

  • #Concern at ‘unprecedented’ #English infection level

#It has been developed at a pace that would have been unthinkable before the pandemic.

#It is the second jab to be approved in the UK after the #Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was given the go-ahead in #December.

#More than 600,000 people in the UK have been vaccinated since #Margaret #Keenan became the first in the world to get that jab outside of a clinical trial.

#But the #Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will lead to a significant increase in vaccination as it is cheap and easy to mass produce.

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#Crucially it can be stored in a standard fridge – unlike the #Pfizer-BioNTech jab which needs ultra cold storage at -70C – so it will be far easier to get the #Oxford vaccine to care homes and GP surgeries.

#Priority groups for immunisation – including the elderly, care home residents and health and care workers – have already been identified.

The new vaccine approval comes after #Public #Health #England said the country was facing “unprecedented” levels of infections, and health officials in parts of #Wales, #Scotland and the south of #England voiced concerns about the increasing pressure on the NHS.

#Who will get the vaccine?

The immunisation campaign will now shift to giving as many people as possible their first dose of vaccine.

The aim will be to give as many vulnerable people some protection from #Covid-19.

The decision is based on advice from the #Joint #Committee on #Vaccination and #Immunisation.

A #Department of #Health and #Social #Care spokesperson said: “The priority should be to give as many people in at-risk groups their first dose, rather than providing the required two doses in as short a time as possible.

“#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.”

media caption#Laura #Foster explains how the vaccine works

#How effective is the #Oxford vaccine?

There are three figures doing the rounds – 62%, 70% and 90%.

The first analysis of the trial data showed 70% of people were protected from developing #Covid-19 and nobody developed severe disease or needed hospital treatment.

The figure was just 62% when people were given two full doses of the jab and 90% when they were first given a half dose and then a full one.

The #Medicines and #Healthcare products #Regulatory #Agency (MHRA) has approved two full doses of the #Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

#However, unpublished data suggests that leaving a longer gap between the first and second doses increases the overall effectiveness of the jab.

There was not enough clear data to approve the half-dose, full-dose idea.

#All the vaccines are expected to be equally effective against the new variants of the virus that have emerged.

#How does it work?

The vaccine is a genetically modified common cold virus that used to infect chimpanzees.

#It has been altered to stop it causing an infection in people and to carry the blueprints for part of the coronavirus, known as the spike protein.

#Once these blueprints are inside the body they start producing the coronavirus’ spike protein, which the immune system recognizes as a threat and tries to squash it.

Then, when the immune system comes into contact with the virus for real, it already knows what to do.

image caption#Two full doses of the #Oxford vaccine gave 62% protection, a half dose followed by a full dose was 90% and overall the trial showed 70% protection.

#Follow #James on #Twitter.

#Do you have any questions about the coronavirus vaccine? #Email [email protected]

#Or use this form to get in touch:

#If you are reading this page and can’t see the form you will need to visit the mobile version of the BBC website to submit your comment or send it via email to #[email protected] #Please include your name, age and location with any comment you send in.

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[ source link ]
https://www.bbc.com/news/health-55280671

##Covid19 ##OxfordAstraZeneca #coronavirus #vaccine #approved

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