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UK secures access to 5 million doses of US Moderna vaccine

Deal follows efficacy results showing the drug was 95 per cent effective in preventing infection

The UK government has secured access to millions of doses of a Covid-19 vaccine being developed by US biotech company Moderna, after it was shown to be effective in preventing the disease.

The agreement means the UK will have access to 5 million doses of the vaccine, enough for about 2.5 million people, the government said on 16 November.

If approved by the medicines regulator, the vaccine is expected to be delivered to the UK as early as spring 2021, with the potential for the government to procure more doses next year, it said.

The announcement follows the publication of interim efficacy results from Phase 3 studies, which showed that the vaccine was nearly 95 per cent effective in preventing the disease.

The UK government already has agreements in place with seven vaccine developers and has secured access to 350 million doses.

“The speed at which scientists around the world have worked on a vaccine has been incredible, and it is thanks to their ingenuity that we are on the cusp of one of the biggest scientific breakthroughs in recent years,” said business secretary Alok Sharma.

Health secretary Matt Hancock agreed that it was “excellent news and an encouraging step”.

“But we are not there yet,” he cautioned. “Until science can make us safe, we must remain vigilant and keep following the rules that we know can keep this virus under control.”