The United Kingdom approved AstraZeneca’s (OTCMKTS: AZNCF) – the Oxford University’s coronavirus vaccine on Wednesday, becoming the first country to do so. The vaccine is said to be a more affordable option with the possibility of faster distribution than other available vaccines.
The shot is scheduled to be available next week and will be implemented into a Covid-19 immunization program pioneered by Britain in December with Pfizer’s vaccine. Approximately 600,000 people within the U.K. have been given the Pfizer injection.
“This regimen was shown in clinical trials to be safe and effective at preventing symptomatic Covid-19, with no severe cases and no hospitalizations more than 14 days after the second dose,” AstraZeneca said.
Aside from its low cost, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine does not need to be kept at ultra-low temperatures as Pfizer and Moderna vaccines do.
“The efficacy of the Oxford vaccine is … the most encouraging sign yet that India has a route to ending its Covid-19 epidemic and the social distancing that continues to weigh on the economy,” analysts at Capital Economics wrote in a recent research note.
AstraZeneca is working with partners such as the Serum Institute of India, to potentially manufacture 3 Billion doses in 2021.
Cases within the U.K have surged as a new coronavirus variant emerged recently. The country’s hospitals have been strained as the cases spread faster from person to person.
“Today is an important day for millions of people in the U.K. who will get access to this new vaccine,” AstraZeneca’s CEO Pascal Soriot said in a statement. “It has been shown to be effective, well-tolerated, simple to administer and is supplied by AstraZeneca at no profit.”