First doses of Moderna vaccine arrive in UK

The first doses of the Moderna vaccine arrived in Scotland yesterday, the country’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Tuesday.

The jabs, which form part of 17 million ordered by the U.K., were authorized for temporary use by the U.K.’s medicines regulator on January 8. “The fact that we now have three vaccines in use is clearly very welcome and it does give us greater security of supply which is welcome,” the BBC reported Sturgeon as saying.

They may prove vital in the U.K.’s vaccination campaign if ongoing investigations into blood clots result in the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine — of which the U.K. has ordered 100 million doses — not being used in younger people.

Elderly people have already been offered a vaccine in Britain, with over 31 million people having received a first dose. Over-50s are being offered — or have already been offered —a jab in all four U.K. nations.

The Moderna vaccine will be used for people aged between 40 and 49, according to the Mail on Sunday.

Dan Staner, Moderna’s vice president of Europe, also told the Mail that the company would begin sending vaccines to the U.K. “within days.” Shipments with hundreds of thousands of doses will be delivered every week over the next two months, amounting to 2 million doses by the end of May.

Moderna was unable to comment on whether doses had yet arrived in England, Wales or Northern Ireland.

The American mRNA vaccine was approved by British regulators in January, but there has been a months-long delay getting doses to the U.K.

The vaccine is coming from the company’s European supply chain, including Switzerland, Spain and France. The vaccine is also made in the U.S., but vaccine exports are currently not allowed.

This article is part of POLITICO’s premium policy service: Pro Health Care. From drug pricing, EMA, vaccines, pharma and more, our specialized journalists keep you on top of the topics driving the health care policy agenda. Email [email protected] for a complimentary trial. 

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