UK regulators are being asked to access AstraZeneca’s vaccine with the view that four million jabs could be ready for rollout in December despite fears over insufficient trial data.
UK Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, said in a statement released on Friday that the government was working “tirelessly” to ensure a vaccine could be delivered to the British people and had formally asked the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to evaluate.
“We have formally asked the regulator to assess the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, to understand the data and determine whether it meets rigorous safety standards. This letter is an important step towards deploying a vaccine as quickly as safely possible,” Hancock said.
The government has already formally requested that the MHRA evaluate the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine after it was shown to be 95% effective.
There was much cheer on Monday as data released by the UK pharmaceutical giant showed the vaccine to be up to 90 percent effective when given as a half dose followed by a full dose.
However, the vaccine showed only 62 percent efficacy when the full two doses were administered to trial participants.
AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said on Thursday that the jab would be tested again – something that would probably not delay the vaccine’s authorization, he said.
The mixed data raised experts’ concerns, fueled by allegations that the 90-percent effective result was achieved because of the young age of those tested.
Other vaccines, including the Pfizer and Moderna ones, have been shown to be more effective against Covid-19 during stage three trials, while Russian-developed Sputnik V has demonstrated 95 percent efficacy in early trial data.
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