Britain became the first country to approve the coronavirus vaccine developed jointly by Oxford University and AstraZeneca Wednesday. Scientists say the vaccine could be a game changer in the global fight against the pandemic.
Regulators say the vaccine has shown around 70% effectiveness against COVID-19, a relatively high figure compared to vaccines for many other diseases.
“This vaccine, COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca, has been approved for use in people aged 18 years and older, with two standard doses, four to 12 weeks apart,” said Dr. June Raine, CEO of Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
“As I’ve said before, and I will say again today, the safety of the public always comes first. The MHRA’s approval has been reached following a thorough and scientifically rigorous review of all the evidence of safety, of quality and of effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca,” Raine added, during a press conference Wednesday in London.
Earlier in December, Britain was the first of several Western nations to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is around 95% effective. However, it is more expensive at around $20 per dose and must be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius.
In contrast, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine costs around $4 per dose and only needs to be stored at refrigerator temperatures.