The Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine has been approved for use in the UK.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has authorised the vaccine for use, meaning it is both safe and effective to be rolled out to the public.
The UK has ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford vaccine, which is enough to vaccinate 50 million Brits.
Confirming the news, the Department of Health and Social Care said: "The Government has today accepted the recommendation from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to authorise Oxford University/AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine for use.
"This follows rigorous clinical trials and a thorough analysis of the data by experts at the MHRA, which has concluded that the vaccine has met its strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness."
It is expected the rollout of the vaccine will begin on Monday 4th January. It will require two doses to be taken 12 weeks apart.
The Department of Health and Social Care has said that with two vaccines now available (including the already approved Pfizer) more people will be able to be vaccinated in the UK.
"The NHS has a clear vaccine delivery plan and decades of experience in delivering large scale vaccination programmes," they said.
"It has already vaccinated hundreds of thousands of patients with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and its roll out will continue. Now the NHS will begin putting their extensive preparations into action to roll out the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine."
More than 600,000 people have so far been vaccinated in the UK, however the Oxford vaccine is expected to accelerate the number of people receiving the jab.
This is partly because the vaccine, which is cheap and easy to mass produce, can also be stored in a standard temperature fridge - unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech jab which needs to be stored at -70C.
It is truly fantastic news - and a triumph for British science - that the @UniofOxford /@AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved for use.- Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) December 30, 2020
We will now move to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible. pic.twitter.com/cR4pRdZJlT
The hopeful news comes as the UK recorded its highest number of Covid infections yesterday, with cases jumping to over 53,135, with 414 deaths.
Tweeting about the news this morning, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "It is truly fantastic news - and a triumph for British science - that the @UniofOxford /@AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved for use."
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