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Oxford vaccine trialled in Wessex receives UK approval

A COVID-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, and trialled in Wessex, has been approved for use in the UK following recommendation from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

This follows rigorous clinical trials supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) 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.

A total of 23,745 adults in the UK, Brazil and South Africa took part in the trials, including almost 800 people from the Wessex region, which covers Hampshire, Dorset, south Wiltshire and the Isle of Wight.

Development of the vaccine was funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Department of Health and Social Care through the NIHR, as part of the joint rapid research response.

Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England and co-lead of the NIHR, said:

“It is very good news that the independent regulator has now authorised use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

"There has been a considerable collective effort that has brought us to this point. The dedication and hard work of scientists, regulators and those who funded the research, such as the NIHR, UKRI and the United Kingdom Vaccine Network (UKVN), and the willingness and selflessness of so many volunteers who took part in the vaccine trials were essential in delivering this safe and effective vaccine. They deserve our recognition and thanks.”

Professor Andrew Pollard, Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group and Chief Investigator of the Oxford Vaccine Trial, said:

“The regulator’s assessment that this is a safe and effective vaccine is a landmark moment, and an endorsement of the huge effort from a devoted international team of researchers and our dedicated trial participants.

“Though this is just the beginning, we will start to get ahead of the pandemic, protect health and economies when the vulnerable are vaccinated everywhere, as many as possible as soon as possible.”

For further information, please view the peer-reviewed results from the vaccine trials previously published in the Lancet or visit the University of Oxford website.