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UK orders five million doses of new Moderna vaccine by spring next year

Written by on 16/11/2020

Five million doses of the Moderna vaccine to battle coronavirus have been ordered, the health secretary has announced.

Matt Hancock said preliminary trials showing it to be 94.5% effective were “excellent news” and that, if it proves safe, the jabs can be rolled out across the UK by spring 2021.

The vaccine, which Moderna produced in collaboration with the US government’s “Operation Warp Speed”, is particularly attractive given it can be stored relatively easily.

It has been shown to last for up to 30 days in household fridges, at room temperature for up to 12 hours, and remains stable at -20C – equal to most household or medical freezers – for up to six months.

That would make storage and transportation of it more attractive than a Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which was last week announced to be 90% effective at protecting people from coronavirus and needs to be stored at around -70C.

So far, the UK government has secured early access to seven candidate vaccines – totalling more than 355 million doses.

Mr Hancock said Moderna’s progress is an “encouraging step forward”, though cautioned: “This is preliminary, the safety data is limited and their production facilities are not yet at scale.”

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Addressing the nation from a Downing Street news conference, he added: “Great advanced of medical science are coming to the rescue…

“While there is much uncertainty, we can see the candle of hope and we must do all we can to nurture its flame.

“But we’re not there yet; until the science can make us safe we must remain vigilant and keep following the rules that we know can keep this virus under control.”

 Sky News

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