January 2021
2:42 PM IST
News Headlines
England beats Sri Lanka by 7 wickets in 1st test        Fourth Test: Rain forces early stumps with India at 4-0 while chasing 328 to win        Three UK partners with TCS to accelerate 5G network rollout        3 Adani Group-owned domestic airports accredited in ACI health accreditation programme        N. Korea''s parliament rubber stamps new development plans        Kremlin critic Navalny detained after landing in Moscow        'Rooting hard for you': Will departure notes end with Trump?        Tandav controversy: FIR against director, Amazon India head of content        Smiles, sanitizers welcome students as schools reopen in Delhi        COVID-19: India records lowest fatalities in eight months        Proposed tractor rally on Jan 26: It's law & order matter, says SC on plea for injunction against it        PM flags off 8 trains to boost connectivity to Statue of Unity        Fire in luggage van of running train doused in time in Kerala        Kerala logs 5,005 new COVID-19 cases, 4,408 recoveries        Farmer unions say they will go ahead with tractor march in Delhi on Republic Day        Kremlin critic Navalny departs Berlin on Moscow-bound flight        Cargo ship sinks in the Black Sea; 3 dead, 6 rescued        4th Test: Australia 21/0 at stumps, lead India by 54 runs after Sundar, Thakur fightback        NorthEast end winless streak to bag crucial points against Jamshedpur        India take tea break at 62/2, replying to Australia's 369        
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International News
UK approves Moderna vaccine as third jab against COVID-19
London: The UK's medicine regulatory authority on Friday approved a third COVID-19 vaccine for use in the country, made by the American biotech company Moderna which has already been rolled out in the US.

It can now start being rolled out alongside the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines already being administered by the National Health Service (NHS) following approvals last year.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said the approval of the Moderna vaccine follows a thorough and rigorous assessment by its 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 .

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, said Dr June Raine, MHRA Chief Executive.

I want to echo that our goal is always to put the protection of the public first. 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, she said.

However, supplies of the new jab are not expected to be available until March because while the UK has pre-ordered 7 million doses, they are being manufactured in the US at first and will take a few months before manufacturing facilities in Europe will be ready to distribute.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock called it "another weapon in our arsenal to tame this awful disease", and added it will "boost our vaccination programme even further once doses become available from the spring".

In trials with more than 30,000 volunteers, the Moderna vaccine showed that it offers nearly 95 per cent protection from severe COVID-19. The US Food and Drug Administration had based its decision of approval for America last month based on the results from this study.

As with all the COVID-19 vaccine data we have seen to date, we have ensured a robust and thorough safety assessment has been carried out with the independent experts that sit on this group, said Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, Chair of the Expert Working Group of the Independent Commission on Human Medicines.

The Moderna vaccine works in a similar way to the Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA vaccine that is already being offered by the NHS but is easier to store and move as it requires temperatures of around -20C for shipping similar to a normal freezer.

It 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.

In comparison, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine requires temperatures closer to -75C, making transport logistics much more difficult.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca jab is easiest to store and distribute, as it can be kept at normal fridge temperature and has therefore been rolled out to general practice (GP) led services this week to be administered within care homes and other vulnerable sections within the community.

All three vaccines now cleared for use in the UK require a second booster shot.

According to the latest figures, around 1.5 million people in the UK have had at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine so far, the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca jabs. The government has set a target to deliver first doses of a vaccine to 15 million of the most vulnerable by February 15.

The UK imposed mandatory COVID-19 tests for international travellers as part of new measures announced on Friday to contain the spread of new variants of coronavirus circulating internationally.

The UK remains under a nationwide lockdown since Wednesday. The country is battling a second wave of infection.

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