The United Kingdom has approved the coronavirus vaccine developed by Oxford University/AstraZeneca. It is considerably less expensive and provides a more convenient method for distribution than other competitors.
The UK government has devised an immunization strategy to help the majority of the country’s population receive the first dose of the vaccine beforehand. The second dose of the vaccine will follow after 12 weeks.
The government is keen to follow a similar immunization strategy for people who have already received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine shot.
According to Matt Hancock, the UK Health Secretary, by following the well-planned immunization strategy they will be able to protect a larger population by providing only the initial dose.
He proceeds to explain that scientists believe that the first dose is very effective in its own right, and even though the second dose is essential for long-term effectiveness, only providing the first dose will allow the country to vaccinate a larger population.
The UK will start administering the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine to the public from January 4th 2021. This is the high time, as the hospitals in the country are almost running on the maximum capacity while a new variant of the virus has caused a significant rise in the number of coronavirus infections.
The UK is not only the first country to authorize the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, but is also the first to start the distribution of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The developers of the AstraZeneca vaccine have also vowed to supply their vaccine to low and middle-income developing countries as part of a not-for-profit initiative.
This vaccine is ideal for developing countries because, in addition to being less expensive, it does not have the additional cost of storage at freezing temperatures, hence making distribution much more convenient.
Hancock has said that the UK currently possesses enough vaccines to administer to her entire adult population, i.e. 100 million doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca along with 30 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
In an interview with Sky News, Hancock claims the National Health Service (NHS) plans to distribute enough vaccines to help the country get rid of the pandemic by spring 2021. The vaccination process will begin on Monday with 530,000 doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca ready to roll out. A million more doses will also be administered to the public by February.