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Dec. 30, 2020, 6:47 a.m. EST

U.K. approves coronavirus vaccine AstraZeneca made with Oxford

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By Steve Goldstein

AstraZeneca on Wednesday said the coronavirus vaccine it has developed with the University of Oxford has been approved by the U.K. government.

AstraZeneca /zigman2/quotes/200304487/composite AZN +0.09% /zigman2/quotes/203048482/delayed UK:AZN +0.46% said the COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for emergency supply in the U.K. so that vaccinations may begin early in the new year.

London-listed pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca’s shares edged higher, but the stock has slipped 11% over the last three months.

It said the U.K.’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has provided authorization for emergency supply of what it now calls COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca.

The authorization recommends two doses administered with an interval of between four and 12 weeks.

The U.K. was the first government to approve the vaccine made by U.S. drug company Pfizer /zigman2/quotes/202877789/composite PFE +1.77% and its German partner BioNTech /zigman2/quotes/214419716/composite BNTX -4.91% , and has administered the third-highest total of shots, according to the Our World in Data tracker.

The AstraZeneca vaccine was criticized after data showed it was more effective with a half dose followed by a full dose, rather than two full doses. AstraZeneca said additional safety and efficacy data for the vaccine will continue to accumulate from ongoing clinical trials.

At a press conference, regulators cited the overall 70% effectiveness rate the AstraZeneca vaccine achieved in both of its dosing studies. They also advised against mixing-and-matching the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines.

The advantage the AstraZeneca vaccine has over the Pfizer one is that it can be stored at normal refrigeration temperatures, rather than needing supercold storage. AstraZeneca plans to make up to 3 billion vaccines to be distributed throughout the developing world.

The U.K. government said the approval will allow for the country’s entire population to be vaccinated. The U.K. has been effectively isolated from the rest of the world, as a new strain has rapidly spread.

US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 54.88
+0.05 +0.09%
Volume: 4.90M
Dec. 1, 2021 4:00p
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$169.62 billion
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UK : U.K.: London
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£128.21 billion
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$ 54.68
+0.95 +1.77%
Volume: 58.93M
Dec. 1, 2021 4:03p
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Market Cap
$301.58 billion
Rev. per Employee
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 334.48
-17.26 -4.91%
Volume: 3.71M
Dec. 1, 2021 4:00p
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Market Cap
$85.30 billion
Rev. per Employee

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