British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. (Photo: Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)
BRITISH prime minister Boris Johnson on Monday(23) hailed the ‘fantastic’ news that AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine developed with the University of Oxford could be up to 90 per cent effective, but said it still would require safety checks.
“Incredibly exciting news the Oxford vaccine has proved so effective in trials,” Johnson said on Twitter. “There are still further safety checks ahead, but these are fantastic results.”
The vaccine was 90 per cent effective in preventing Covid-19 when it was administered as a half dose followed by a full dose at least one month apart, according to data from the late-stage trials in Britain and Brazil.
No serious safety events related to the vaccine have been confirmed and it was well tolerated across both dosing regimens, it said.
Responding to the report UK health secretary Matt Hancock also said that it was “fantastic news”.
“These figures … show that the vaccine in the right dosage can be up to 90 per cent effective,” he told Sky News, after an announcement from AstraZeneca.
“We’ve got 100 million doses on order and should all that go well, the bulk of the rollout will be in the new year.”
Hancock said AstraZeneca, Oxford and the medicine regulator would have to study the results to see how best to administer the vaccine once it was found to be safe.
“One of the things that regulator will need to look at is whether the programme for how the doses are done which can lead to the 90 per cent effectiveness figure, whether that is the appropriate way to take the Oxford vaccine forward,” he told BBC TV.
He also said there was evidence in the report that the vaccine could reduce transmission of the disease.
“Now of course that would be very good news if confirmed, because obviously what we want to do is not only stop people from getting the disease but also stop its transmission,” he said.