British and French regulators approve Moderna COVID vaccine


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Britain approved a third COVID vaccine on Friday for its mass inoculation campaign, as regulators gave the green light to a vaccine developed by US company Moderna.

Some 1.5 million people have received doses of Pfizer-BioNTech or Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines since early December and the government aims to have 15 million vaccinated by mid-February.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the approval of the Moderna jab by the Independent Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) was another boost for the program.

“This is another great news and another weapon in our arsenal to tame this terrible disease,” he said.

“Moderna’s vaccine will allow us to accelerate our vaccination program even further once the doses are available from the spring. ”

The MHRA was the first regulator in the world to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca jabs, allowing the start of what health chiefs have said is Britain’s biggest vaccination campaign ever.

Hancock’s department said the Moderna jab “meets the regulator’s stringent safety, efficacy and quality standards.”

England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam called the vaccine “very effective” and said it was “another impressive achievement for science”.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare said it was 94% effective in preventing disease, including in the elderly.

Britain has ordered 17 million doses of the vaccine, which will be delivered in the coming months once Moderna increases its production capacity, he added.

Elderly residents and nursing home staff, those over 70, and clinically extremely vulnerable people are the first to participate in the blows, and the government has stepped up the program to meet its February target.

More than 1,000 new vaccination sites, including community pharmacies and even supermarket parking lots, are expected to be open by the end of this week.

Army logistics specialists were recruited to assist with supplies and deliveries.

Britain has secured rapid access to 367 million doses of seven of the most promising vaccine candidates.

Moderna’s announcement comes with much of Britain under a new lockdown to try to reduce spiraling infection rates and deaths blamed on a rapidly spreading variant of the virus.

A total of 1,162 new deaths within 28 days of a positive test were recorded on Thursday – the highest since the peak of the first wave in April of last year.

In total, some 2.9 million people have been infected.

Home stay restrictions, which include school closures, are expected to last until at least mid-February.

Green light in France

France’s national health authority also said on Friday it had approved Moderna’s vaccine for people 18 years and older, following EU approval of Moderna’s vaccine on Wednesday.

The decision paves the way for a second option in a vaccination campaign that has been beset by critics as falling far behind those of its neighbors.

He added that the Moderna shot could also be used for people over 75, as data so far suggests an effective rate of 86% for the elderly, compared to 94% for young adults.

The government’s “vaccine czar”, Alain Fischer, told BFM radio that the first deliveries of Moderna shots “should take place in the next few days, or the second half of January at the latest”.

Authorities on Thursday reported 21,703 new cases and 277 deaths, bringing the French death toll to 66,841.

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© 2021 AFP

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