The Moderna vaccine is set to arrive in the UK in April, becoming available for the under-50s within weeks.
As Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announced on Sunday, March 28, the Moderna vaccine is still on track to be available in the UK by mid-April. With 500,000 doses of the US vaccine arriving soon, adults under 50 can expect to receive their first dose within the next few weeks.
The vaccine, developed by American biotechnology company Moderna, is the third one to be approved for use by the NHS, joining the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, as well as the one developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca.
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The Moderna vaccine, albeit arriving later than initially hoped, has distinct advantages that make it easier to store and distribute. For instance, whilst the Pfizer vaccine must be stored at -70°C, the Moderna vaccine can be stored at -20°C for up to six months. The delay in its arrival was due to Moderna’s production capability, with the company struggling to fulfil the UK’s order along with the millions of doses ordered by the EU.
The new Moderna doses are expected to kick the UK’s already successful vaccination program into top gear, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock saying: “This is further great news and another weapon in our arsenal to tame this awful disease.” Meanwhile, 30 million people in the UK have now received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and Nadhim Zahawi, vaccine deployment minister, said in a tweet on Sunday that the nation is still hopeful to “protect the whole adult population by end July”.