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UK secures 5 million doses of Moderna coronavirus vaccine
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 17 - 11 - 2020

The United Kingdom has completed negotiations with US biotech company Moderna to secure access to 5 million doses of its promising vaccine, enough for around 2.5 million people, the UK business secretary announced on Monday.
If it meets robust standards of safety and effectiveness and approved by the medicines regulator, the vaccine could be delivered to the UK and Europe as early as Spring 2021 with the potential for the government to procure more doses next year, the government press release said.
This would follow the first deliveries of the Pfizer/BioNTech and the Oxford University/AstraZenece vaccines which, once final data from their phase 3 clinical trials has been published and if they receive regulatory approval, could be available before the end of the year, the statement added.
The agreement is part of the government's strategy to develop a diverse portfolio of vaccines, increasing the UK's chances of securing access to a promising vaccine. Today's deal means the government has put in place agreements with 7 different developers and has secured 355 million vaccine doses, giving the UK the best possible chance of protecting the public from coronavirus as soon as possible.
The news comes as Moderna on Monday published initial data showing that its candidate is nearly 95 percent effective in protecting against COVID-19, with no safety issues identified to date. The safety data is still to be released by Moderna to show whether the vaccine is both safe and effective.
Commenting on the development UK Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: "Today's announcement is on top of the 350 million doses the UK has already secured from a range of other vaccine developers, putting us towards the front of the international pack on a per capita basis."
"The speed at which scientists around the world have worked on a vaccine has been incredible, and it is thanks to their ingenuity that we are on the cusp of one of the biggest scientific breakthroughs in recent years."
While this is exciting news, I urge the public to not be complacent — we are at a critical point in the pandemic, and in order to save lives we must continue to follow guidance by maintaining social distancing, wearing face masks, and washing our hands regularly, the UK business secretary added.
Meanwhile, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "Today's announcement is excellent news and an encouraging step forward in our fight against COVID-19."
"We have moved swiftly to secure 5 million doses of this hugely promising vaccine meaning we are even better placed to vaccinate everyone who will benefit should the rigorous safety standards be met."
"But we are not there yet. Until science can make us safe, we must remain vigilant and keep following the rules that we know can keep this virus under control," the health secretary added.
Moderna is currently conducting phase 3 clinical trials of its vaccine and is using mRNA vaccine technology. — Agencies


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