Modern vaccine approved: Has UK ordered the Moderna vaccine and when will Britain get it?

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The Modern vaccine has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, a week after the department gave the go-ahead for Pfizer Inc and BioNTech shot. Millions of doses will start to be rolled out to US citizens, as the vaccination program began this week – starting with healthcare workers before moving on to those in care home facilities. Currently, the drug only has emergency use authorisation (EUA). But Moderna said it intended to apply for full US license in 2021.

FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn said the emergency approval of the vaccine on Friday marked “another crucial step in the fight against this global pandemic that is causing vast numbers of hospitalizations and deaths in the United States each day”.

President-elect Joe Biden, who is expected to et the vaccine on Monday, said the authorisation “assures us that brighter days lie ahead”.

But he warned the US – which has the world’s highest numbers of Covid-19 with 313,500 deaths and about 17.5 million infections – still has a long way to go to beat this virus.

He said: “The fight against Covid-19 is not yet over. We know the immense challenges ahead, including scaling up manufacturing, distribution, and the monumental task of vaccinating hundreds of millions of Americans. We need to make sure we have the resources to do all of this and to do it quickly.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus HOPE as Oxford vaccine set for approval before year’s end

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Moderna said it would deliver approximately 20 million doses to the US Government this year.

Coupled with the Pfizer vaccine, the US is expecting 40 million doses before the end of the year – enough to eventually vaccinate 20 million people.

Both vaccines require two shots, with Moderna being administered 28 days apart.

Unlike the Pfizer jab, once thawed the Moderna vaccine can be kept at typical refrigerator temperatures.

Has UK ordered the Moderna vaccine?

The UK has signed a deal for seven million doses of the Moderna vaccine for the UK.

This means Britain will have access to enough doses of Moderna’s vaccine candidate for around 3.5 million people.

Speaking after making the deal in November, Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “It is essential that we continue to bolster our portfolio of vaccine candidates to ensure we’re in the best possible position to protect the public once we see that breakthrough.

“The UK was one of the first countries in Europe to sign a deal with Moderna, and I’m delighted we have been able to secure a further 2 million doses of their promising candidate for the British public.”

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When will the UK get Moderna vaccine?

The US has only just approved the jab, meaning it could be a while before it comes to the UK still.

However Moderna says it is scaling up its supply chain in Europe, and the vaccines could reach British shores by the Spring.

However, the cost of the Moderna vaccine is much higher than that of Pfizer. Although the vaccine will be free on the NHS for UK residents, the price tag could be an indicator in how many further doses Britain buys.

During the summer, Moderna pitched it’s jab at £28 per dose – almost double that of Pfizer at £15.

While the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine will be much cheaper, with the company saying it will cost “the same as a cup of coffee”, believed to be just £3.

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