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UK poised to clear AstraZeneca vaccine this week

The UK regulator is poised to give its approval this week to the AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford manufactured Covid-19 vaccine, which also brings the India launch date closer as the Pune-based Serum Institute has already manufactured the vaccine for distribution in the country.

The United Kingdom will roll out Oxford University’s Covid-19 vaccine from January 4, according to plans being drawn up by ministers, Britain’s The Sunday Telegraph newspaper has reported.

The Indian authorities, who are in touch with their UK counterparts on the issue, are also considering the data that has been generated in the Indian trials and are reported to be on the verge of giving their clearance, which will see a roll out of the vaccine early next month.

The Indian government is already carrying out a dry run for administering the vaccine and healthcare workers have
undergone training for handling and administering the vaccine.

AstraZeneca Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot and UK health officials had previously said they hoped for approval by the end of the year.

Professor Calum Semple, a respiratory disease expert and member of the the UK Government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), said the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is a "game changer" in the battle against coronavirus ahead of its potential approval in the coming days. The people that have been vaccinated will be protected within a matter of weeks and that's very important, he added. He expects herd immunity in the UK to come through by the summer.
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