The coronavirus vaccine developed by US-based Moderna was authorised on Friday for emergency use in the United Kingdom (UK), according to an official statement. This is the third COVID-19 vaccine approved by the UK regulator after meeting the required safety, quality and effectiveness standards. The UK government has already approved COVID-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca as well as Pfizer-BioNTech for emergency use in the country.
The Moderna vaccine works by injecting a small part of the COVID-19 virus' genetic code, which triggers an immune response and creates antibodies in the human body able to fight the virus. The dosage for this specific vaccine requires two doses to be given. It is recommended to administer the second dose 28 days after the first. It is approved for use in people 18 years and over, and it can be used by pregnant and breastfeeding women following a discussion with their healthcare provider on the benefits and risks. It can be stored at -20 degree Celsius for up to six months.
"The COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna has today been given regulatory approval for supply by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)," the UK government notified on Friday.
The approval was given after a thorough and rigorous assessment by the MHRA's teams of scientists, including advice from the independent Commission on Human Medicines, which reviewed in depth all the data to ensure this vaccine meets the required standards of safety, quality and effectiveness, it said.
"This is the third COVID-19 vaccine to be approved for use by the MHRA and is the second mRNA vaccine (the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine approved in December 2020 is also an mRNA vaccine)," it added.
Commenting on the development, MHRA Chief Executive Dr June Raine said, "Today's approval brings more encouraging news to the public and the healthcare sector. Having a third COVID-19 vaccine approved for supply following a robust and thorough assessment of all the available data is an important goal to have achieved and I am proud that the agency has helped to make this a reality."
"Once in use, all COVID-19 vaccines are continually monitored by the MHRA. This ensures that the benefits in protecting people against COVID-19 continue to far outweigh any potential side-effects. Meantime, even if you have had a vaccine it is vital that everyone follows the national lockdown restrictions and remembers 'stay alert, protect the NHS and save lives' at all times," Raine added.