UKRI and NIHR welcome UK approval of Oxford-led COVID-19 vaccine

Woman receiving COVID-19 vaccine

The Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has approved use of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca for people in the UK.

Development of the vaccine was funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Department of Health and Social Care through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), as part of the joint rapid research response.

Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, Chief Executive, UK Research and Innovation, said:

MHRA approval for the Oxford vaccine is such good news on which to end the year. This is a safe and affordable vaccine that is easily distributed at fridge temperature. It has a key role to play in saving lives worldwide.

This is the culmination of a year of dedicated hard work, but the work will continue to understand better the immunity the vaccine confers, the most effective dosage regimes, and to continue to track its safety, duration of effectiveness and impact on transmission.

Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England and co-lead of the National Institute for Health Research, said:

It is very good news that the independent regulator has now authorised for use the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. There has been a considerable collective effort that has brought us to this point.

The dedication and hard work of scientists, regulators and those who funded the research, such as the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI) and United Kingdom Vaccine Network (UKVN), and the willingness and selflessness of so many volunteers who took part in the vaccine trials were essential in delivering this safe and effective vaccine. They deserve our recognition and thanks.

Professor Fiona Watt, Executive Chair of the Medical Research Council, which helped to fund the vaccine, said:

By moving swiftly to approve the vaccine, the MHRA have ensured that a safe and effective route to halting the pandemic is available to the UK population.

Peer-reviewed results from the vaccine trials were previously published in the Lancet.

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