The Government is “in advanced discussions” to procure doses of the ‘exciting’ Moderna vaccine, but they are unlikely to be available until spring 2021 “at the earliest”.
Early data from the US biotech company has revealed that its Covid-19 vaccine candidate is 94.5 per cent effective, raising hopes that a range of immunisations will be available to help end the pandemic.
Peter Openshaw, Professor of Experimental Medicine at Imperial College London, welcomed the results as “tremendously exciting”.
The UK does not currently have access to the vaccine, which has been predominantly funded by the US Government as part of “Operation Warp Speed”.
A Government spokesperson said: “The news from Moderna appears to be good and represents another significant step towards finding an effective Covid-19 vaccine. As part of the ongoing work of the Vaccines Taskforce, the Government is in advanced discussions with Moderna to ensure UK access to their vaccine as part of the wider UK portfolio.
“Moderna are currently scaling up their European supply chain which means these doses would become available in spring 2021 in the UK at the earliest.
“To date, the UK Government has secured early access to 350 million vaccines doses through agreements with six separate vaccine developers. This includes 40m doses of Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine, which is based on the same platform as Moderna’s vaccine and if approved by the medicines regulator, is expected to begin delivery as early as December 2020.”
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