The Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine has been approved for use by the United Kingdom’s medicines regulator.
The jab, which is significantly easier to transport and store than alternatives including the Pfizer vaccine, will mark a step-change in the UK’s ability to immunise the population.
The UK has ordered 100m doses, enough for 50m people. Alongside the Pfizer jab, this essentially means the UK has a vaccine for every member of the population.
The Government has also shifted its approach to vaccination, and will now roll out the first dose of both vaccines to at-risk groups as quickly as possible, rather than providing the two doses in as short a time as possible.
Hundreds of thousands of at-risk individuals have received a dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine already.
A Health Department spokesperson said: “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.
“From today the NHS across the UK will prioritise giving the first dose of the vaccine to those in the most high-risk groups. With two vaccines now approved, we will be able to vaccinate a greater number of people who are at highest risk, protecting them from the disease and reducing mortality and hospitalisation.”
The UK prime minister confirms this with the following tweet: