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NIHR and UKRI welcome UK approval of Oxford-led Covid-19 vaccine

Published: 30 December 2020

The Government has today accepted the recommendation from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to authorise Oxford University/AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine for use.

This follows rigorous clinical trials supported by 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.

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 Office for England and co-lead of the NIHR:

“It is very good news that the independent regulator has now authorised for use 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, United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI) and 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 Dame Ottoline Leyser, Chief Executive, UK Research and Innovation, which helped to fund the vaccine, said:

“MHRA approval for the Oxford vaccine is such good news on which to end the year. This is a safe and affordable vaccine that is easily distributed at fridge temperature. It has a key role to play in saving lives worldwide.

“This is the culmination of a year of dedicated hard work, but the work will continue to understand better the immunity the vaccine confers, the most effective dosage regimes, and to continue to track its safety, duration of effectiveness and impact on transmission.”

The Department of Health and Social Care’s UK Vaccine Network (UKVN) has been investing in research to prepare for future, known and unknown diseases with epidemic potential since 2016. These investments have laid the groundwork for the speedy development of the Oxford COVID-19 Vaccine, by investing in innovative technology ahead of time and building vaccine pipelines against epidemic diseases.  

Find out more

Peer-reviewed results from the vaccine trials were previously published in the Lancet.

Read more on the University of Oxford website.

Read more about NIHR COVID-19 research

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