Latest on coronavirus outbreak

UK orders 114 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for 2022/23

Britain's medicines regulator also approves new drug that reduces risk of hospitalization, death from coronavirus by 79%

Karim El-Bar   | 02.12.2021
UK orders 114 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for 2022/23

LONDON 

Britain has ordered a further 114 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for 2022 and 2023, the government announced on Thursday.

British Health Secretary Sajid Javid said vaccines still remained the UK's best line of defense.

"We have signed contracts with Pfizer and Moderna to get an additional 114 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine doses for the next two calendar years," he stated.

The contracts are for 60 million more doses of the Moderna vaccine and 54 million more doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

"I accelerated this purchase in light of this new variant – which includes purchases of modified vaccines – to make sure that we have got the vaccines that we need for the long term," Javid said.

Earlier this week, the government announced that all adults will be offered a booster dose by the end of January 2022, and that the gap between second and booster doses would be cut from six months to three.

Meanwhile, the UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) announced on Thursday that it approved a new drug that reduces the risk of hospitalization and death from coronavirus by 79%.

The drug is called Xevudy, and is also known as sotrovimab. It has been approved for use for those aged 12 and over who weight more than 40 kilograms (88 pounds). The UK has ordered 100,000 doses of the drug.

It was developed by London-based pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline in partnership with Vir Biotechnology, which is based in California.

Premedical trials showed that the drug "retains activity" against the new omicron variant's key mutations, though the medicines regulator said it was too soon to confirm this.

The agency said the drug "has been authorised for use in people who have mild to moderate COVID-19 infection and at least one risk factor for developing severe illness. Such risk factors include obesity, older age (over 60 years), diabetes mellitus, or heart disease."

It, however, added that they will work with the producer company to find if the omicron variant has any impact on the drug's effectiveness.

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