UK okays Oxford/AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

BRITAIN became the first country to authorise AstraZeneca’s inexpensive, easy-to-handle COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday. The rollout of the drug will start on January 4.

The vaccine, developed by the drug maker and Oxford University, could hold great appeal in less developed parts of the world because of its low cost and the fact that it can be kept in refrigerators rather than at the ultra-cold or freezer temperatures some other vaccines require.


This wonderful news brings renewed hope at a time of rising infections and unprecedented pressure on health services in the U.K. and beyond. It is now critical that this hope can be shared by all nations,” said Anna Marriot, health policy manager at the Oxfam aid agency.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the “fantastic achievement for British science, which will allow us to vaccinate more people and also vaccinate them more quickly.”

Because infections are spreading so rapidly in the U.K., officials are now recommending prioritising delivering the first dose to as many people as possible for both of the vaccines authorised for use in the country: the AstraZeneca shot and another from Pfizer-BioNTech.

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