London, Dec 30 : The UK on Wednesday approved the Oxford University-AstraZenecas Covid-19 vaccine for use after authorisation by the country's medicines regulator.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) concluded that the vaccine has met its strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.
The UK has already vaccinated hundreds of thousands of patients with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and its roll out will continue.
The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK will begin putting their extensive preparations into action to roll out the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine, the goverment said.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised the priority should be to give as many people in at-risk groups their first dose, rather than providing the required two doses in as short a time as possible.
"Everyone will still receive their second dose and this will be within 12 weeks of their first.
The second dose completes the course and is important for longer term protection," the government said.
"From today the NHS across the UK will prioritise giving the first dose of the vaccine to those in the most high-risk groups.
With two vaccines now approved, we will be able to vaccinate a greater number of people who are at highest risk, protecting them from the disease and reducing mortality and hospitalisation."