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BSI response to approval of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in UK

8 January 2021

Today, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) announced the approval of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for use in the UK. In response, the British Society for Immunology has released the following statement.

Professor Arne Akbar, President of the British Society for Immunology said:

“We need all the help that we can get to fight this COVID-19 pandemic, so news that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) has approved a third COVID-19 vaccine for use in the UK is extremely welcome.

“The Moderna vaccine is an mRNA vaccine like the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and works in a similar manner. The main difference between these two vaccines however is that the Moderna vaccine can be stored at -20C rather than the -75C needed for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which makes shipping it a lot easier. 

“The UK has doses of the Moderna vaccine on order for delivery in the Spring, so while this approval won’t have an immediate impact on the UK’s COVID-19 vaccination programme, it is reassuring to know that stocks of this vaccine will be delivered in due course.

“As always, safety in vaccines is paramount and the MHRA will have carefully scrutinised the evidence on this COVID-19 vaccine to ensure that it is both safe and effective. Although development of this vaccine has occurred quickly, all the same rigorous safety standards and checks have still been carried out. Although the full dataset has yet to be made public, the previously reported efficacy of approximately 95% gives us great optimism that this vaccine will be an important tool in stopping the spread of COVID-19 within our communities.”