Britain secures five million doses of second coronavirus vaccine
Britain has secured five million doses of a second coronavirus vaccine that is 94.5 per cent effective.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock today announced an agreement had been reached for access to the Moderna jab, enough for 2.5 million people.
Two doses of the vaccine need to be administered to each patient.
Britain has already secured 40 million doses of a vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech, which uses the same technology as Moderna and should be available before Christmas.
Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, Mr Hancock explained the preliminary results for the vaccine were “excellent news”.
He said: "This is another encouraging step forward, although I stress that this is preliminary, the safety data is limited and their production facilities are not yet at scale.
"Should this latest vaccine be approved, the doses would be available from spring next year.
"We have today secured an initial agreement for five million doses of the Moderna vaccine.
"This is a similar technology to Pfizer/Biontech of which we’ve already ordered 40 million doses, which should that be proved to work could come on stream before the end of this year."
Mr Hancock claimed the vaccine breakthroughs were giving the world hope, but reminded the public not to be complacent.
He said: “Across diagnostics and vaccines, great advances in medical science are coming to the rescue.
“While there is much uncertainty, we can see the candle of hope and we must do all that we can to nurture its flame.
“But we’re not there yet. Until the science can make us safe we must remain vigilant and keep following the rules that we know can keep this virus under control.”
The Moderna vaccine isn't expected to be available in the UK until next spring as the US firm expands its supply chain.
Mr Hancock’s announcement was welcomed by Business Secretary Alok Sharma.
Posting on Twitter, he said: “Delighted to confirm that today we concluded negotiations with Moderna & secured access to 5 million doses of its promising coronavirus vaccine, with the option to procure more.
“This is on top of the 350 million doses we’ve already secured from a range of other developers.”
Also speaking at the press conference, England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam agreed the Moderna results were “brilliant news”.
He said: “Do I feel more encouraged in relation to another messenger RNA vaccine showing that it is making Covid-19 potentially in the future of vaccine preventable disease? Absolutely so.
“It’s brilliant news, absolutely brilliant.”
Professor Van-Tam had previously compared the Pfizer vaccine trial results to a goal in a penalty shoot-out and continued this with the new vaccine.
He said: “It’s the second penalty now, that’s also gone into the back of the net.
“So we’re starting to feel in a better position.”
Earlier the EU announced plans to finalise their own deal for the Moderna vaccine.
Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen also revealed the EC has agreed to purchase up to 405 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine created by the German biotech company CureVac.
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