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Following the approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine last year, at the end of December, the UK regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), approved the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine for use in the UK. Health Secretary Matt Hancock described the vaccine’s approval as a “massive step forward” for the UK’s fight against coronavirus, and said vaccines were the “exit route from the pandemic”.
In clinical trials, the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine showed a strong immune response in adults of all ages.
The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has a good safety record and has shown 70.4 percent efficacy in tests.
The vaccine was developed by scientists at AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, and the UK was the first in the world to sign an agreement for the vaccine.
The Oxford vaccine’s approval has been significant for the UK vaccine rollout effort, as the UK Government has ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine – enough to vaccinate 50 million people with two doses.
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The UK Government has ordered more of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine than any other vaccine.
Two other vaccines have also been approved in the UK, with the Government securing 40 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
The UK Government has also secured seven million doses of the Moderna vaccine.
To date already five million people have received at least one of the approved vaccine doses against Covid-19.
Where is the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine made?
The UK’s Vaccine Taskforce said in December the first doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine used in the initial UK rollout would be manufactured in Europe.
The first doses of the vaccines delivered to the UK have been manufactured in the Netherlands and Germany.
Ian McCubbin, manufacturing lead for the taskforce, said the “vast, vast majority” of the total AstraZeneca vaccine will be made in the UK.
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Mr McCubbin added: “The initial supply – and it’s a little bit of a quirk of the programme – actually comes from the Netherlands and Germany.
“But once that’s supplied, which we expect will be all by the end of this year, then the remainder of the supply will be a UK supply chain.”
The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is produced in three factories, with two of the factories located in England in Oxford and Keele.
Another factory producing the Covid vaccines is located in Leiden in the Netherlands.
Specialist sites in Wales and Germany then divide the vaccine into vials ready for distribution.
When the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was approved by the UK regulator last year, the Government noted its investment in a £100million vaccine manufacturing facility.
The Government said: “The UK Government invested £100 million to fund a state-of-the-art manufacturing innovation centre in Braintree, Essex, in collaboration with the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, to accelerate the mass production of a successful Covid-19 vaccine in the UK.
“Due to open in December 2021, the Centre will have the capacity to produce millions of doses of vaccines each month, ensuring the UK has the capabilities to manufacture both vaccines and advanced medicines, including for emerging diseases, far into the future.”
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