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AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine authorised for emergency supply in the UK

Pascal Soriot

The UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has provided authorisation for emergency supply of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, formerly AZD1222, for the active immunisation of individuals 18 years or older.

The authorisation recommends two doses administered with an interval of between four and 12 weeks. This regimen was shown in clinical trials to be safe and effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19, with no severe cases and no hospitalisations more than 14 days after the second dose.

AstraZeneca is working with Public Health England and National Health Service England to support the deployment and roll out of the vaccine in the UK, in line with the MHRA and the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation dosing recommendation. The Company aims to supply millions of doses in the first quarter as part of an agreement with the government to supply up to 100 million doses in total.

“Today is an important day for millions of people in the UK who will get access to this new vaccine. It has been shown to be effective, well-tolerated, simple to administer and is supplied by AstraZeneca at no profit. We would like to thank our many colleagues at AstraZeneca, Oxford University, the UK government and the tens of thousands of clinical trial participants,” says Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer, AstraZeneca.

The first authorisation for this vaccine

The decision to approve the vaccine was taken under Regulation 174 of the Human Medicine Regulations 2012, which enables rapid emergency regulatory approvals to address significant public health issues such as a pandemic. This is the first authorisation for this vaccine.

The MHRA’s decision was based on independent advice from its Commission on Human Medicines following a rolling review of trial data that included an interim analysis of the Phase III programme led by the University of Oxford. The data were also published in The Lancet on 8 December 2020.

Additional safety and efficacy data for the vaccine will continue to accumulate from ongoing clinical trials. AstraZeneca continues to work with regulatory authorities around the world to support their ongoing rolling reviews for emergency supply or conditional marketing authorisation during the health crisis. AstraZeneca is also seeking Emergency Use Listing from the World Health Organization for an accelerated pathway to vaccine availability in low- and middle-income countries.

Photo of Pascal Soriot: AstraZeneca