Today, the Scottish Government accepted the recommendation from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to authorise Oxford University/AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine for use, paving the way for mass roll out of the vaccine.
Tweeting about the vaccine approval this morning, Nicola Sturgeon commented that despite Scotland having some “difficult winter weeks ahead” the news of the vaccine approval means that ‘the light at the end of the tunnel just got a lot brighter.”
Ms Sturgeon said: “Much needed good news on the Covid front- and it is very good news. We’ve still got some difficult winter weeks ahead- but the light at the end of the tunnel just got a lot brighter. Let’s stick with now- Spring will bring better times.”
Sturgeon’s tweet comes as scientists across the country hail the jab approval as a game-changer" and a "great moment" in the battle against coronavirus. Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group and chief investigator of the Oxford Vaccine Trial, said the development and approval of the vaccine is "an absolute triumph of academic collaboration".He told BBC's Radio Radio 4 Today programme: "This really is a great moment in what's been a difficult year, and definitely a moment here at Oxford, at the university, of pride in our team for this astonishing achievement in science and clinical research during the course of the year."Andrew Hayward, professor of infectious diseases epidemiology at University College London, told BBC Breakfast: "It is a game-changer. It's exactly what we need right now."I think essentially what this has turned this into is a race between us and the virus, and we need to slow the virus down as much as we can whilst we get as many people vaccinated as possible."
The UK has so far ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine which will be enough to vaccinate 50 million people.
The approval of the Oxford vaccine will hopefully lead to a significant increase in vaccination as it is cheap and easy to mass produce.
Unlike the Pfizer jab which needs the ultra cold storage temperature of -70C, the Oxford vaccine can be stored in a standard fridge meaning GP surgeries will be able to store in their fridges.
In terms of its efficacy, data from medical journal The Lancet in early December showed the vaccine was 62% effective in preventing Covid-19 among a group of 4,440 people given two standard doses of the vaccine when compared with 4,455 people given a placebo drug.
Of 1,367 people given a half first dose of the vaccine followed by a full second dose, there was 90% protection against Covid-19 when compared with a control group of 1,374 people.
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