Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID vaccine submitted for UK approval

The University of Oxford and drug manufacturer AstraZeneca have applied to the UK health regulator for permission to roll out their COVID-19 vaccine, Health Minister Matt Hancock says.

“I’m delighted to be able to tell you that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine developed here in the UK has submitted its full data package to the MHRA for approval,” he says.

“This is the next step towards a decision on the deployment of the vaccine,” the health minister adds at a press conference where he announced Britain would impose travel restrictions on South Africa to curb the spread of another new, more transmissible strain of the coronavirus.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was the first coronavirus shot to be authorized for use by the UK’s independent medicines regulator and has been given to 500,000 of the country’s most vulnerable people since its rollout last month.

The bulk of Britain’s vaccine requirements are expected to be met by the shot developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, as the government has ordered 100 million doses.