The Oxford vaccine could be approved on Monday (Picture: PA/AP)
A coronavirus vaccine developed by Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca could be approved by the UK regulator as early as tomorrow.
The jab is reportedly set to be given the OK ‘within days’, The Sun newspaper reported.
The UK could then rollout the vaccine from January 4, according to plans being drawn up by ministers, The Sunday Telegraph added.
AstraZeneca boss Pascal Soriot has said the vaccine is more effective than first thought after the company carried out further research.
He told the Sunday Times he believed scientists had found the ‘winning formula’ using two doses and promised to publish the results soon.
The vaccine was found to be 70% effective on average earlier this month.
The government reportedly hopes to give the first dose of either the Oxford jab or the already approved Pfizer vaccine (95% effective) to two million people over the next two weeks.
Last week the Daily Telegraph reported senior Whitehall sources believed the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) would authorise the Oxford vaccine on December 28 or 29.
The coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University (Picture: AP)
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced on Wednesday the Oxford vaccine had now submitted full data to the regulator for approval.
But the Department of Health said on Sunday MHRA must be given time to carry out its review of the data of the jab.
‘We must now give the MHRA the time to carry out its important work and we must wait for its advice’, a spokeswoman said.
MHRA has previously said its review of the vaccine, which has been licensed to pharmaceuticals company AstraZeneca, is still ongoing.
The Oxford vaccine could be given to people from January 4 (Picture: AP)
The UK could be free of lockdowns by February once 12 to 15 million people who are most at risk of dying from the virus are inoculated, The Mail reported.
Government sources said once these vulnerable Brits have had their jabs, the NHS will no longer be at risk of being overwhelmed.
This could eliminate the main argument for lockdowns and tight restrictions.
The Oxford vaccine is key to making this happen as it’s easier to administer and can be stored in a regular fridge, as opposed to the -70C temperatures required for the Pfizer vaccine.
The UK has an advance order for 100 million doses of the Oxford vaccine on top 40 million Pfizer jabs.
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