Moderna COVID-19 shot available in UK next month

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine will be added to the UK’s arsenal of coronavirus vaccines in April, when the country will focus on handing out second doses to those already vaccinated.

Minister for vaccine deployment Nadhim Zahawi said that supplies of the Moderna shot will become available during a near-pause of the first dose programme.

The UK has given a first jab to more than 30 million people, who were mainly included in the first nine priority groups.

Latest figures showed nearly 424,000 people received a vaccine dose on Saturday, with nearly 234,000 second doses administered. This takes the number of follow-up doses to 3.5 million.

With the RNA’s vaccine from Moderna becoming available, it looks as if the remaining supplies will be used to ensure other people receive second doses within the promised 12-week limit.

 

The bulk of the UK’s vaccine supply comes from AstraZeneca, which is currently at the centre of a row between Britain and the European Union.

There has been a shortfall in vaccine supplies in April because of a hold-up with a consignment of 5 million vaccines from India

A further 1.7 million vaccines from the company’s Indian manufacturing partner will also need to be retested.

Moderna’s vaccine is around 94% effective at preventing the disease, in line with the results seen from the Pfizer/BioNTech shot, which is also based around mRNA technology.

The Moderna vaccine does have its challenges – it needs to be stored at around -20C to maintain its integrity although this is not as extreme as the storage requirements for the Pfizer vaccine.

The UK slightly relaxed lockdown regulations on Monday, with up to six people or a group of any size from two households allowed to meet outside.

Formally organised sports can also resume, along with outdoor sports venues and facilities.

Childcare and supervised activities for children are allowed, along with formally organised parent and child groups for up to 15 attendees. Children under five will not be counted in this number.

The number of coronavirus infections is continuing to fall in the UK with 3,892 positive cases, the lowest daily figure since mid-September.

There were 19 deaths from coronavirus in the last 24 hours, compared with a peak of more than 1,800 in one day in January.

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