The agreement follows negotiations with Moderna, who recently reported that interim data for its vaccine-candidate shows it is nearly 95% effective. The 5 millions doses would be enough for up to 2.5 million people in the UK, given that two doses of the vaccine are required to be taken.
If the vaccine meets the required safety and effectiveness standards then it could be delivered to the UK and Europe from Spring next year, with the government having the potential to procure more doses in 2021.
The UK government has now secured access to over 355 million Covid-19 vaccine doses through agreements with a number of pharmaceutical companies. The government has also invested over £230 million into manufacturing capacities in preparation to roll-out the vaccine.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “Today’s announcement is on top of the 350 million doses the UK has already secured from a range of other vaccine developers, putting us towards the front of the international pack on a per capita basis.
The speed at which scientists around the world have worked on a vaccine has been incredible, and it is thanks to their ingenuity that we are on the cusp of one of the biggest scientific breakthroughs in recent years,” business secretary Alok Sharma said.
Health secretary Matt Hancock added: “Today’s announcement is excellent news and an encouraging step forward in our fight against Covid-19. We have moved swiftly to secure 5 million doses of this hugely promising vaccine meaning we are even better placed to vaccinate everyone who will benefit should the rigorous safety standards be met.
“But we are not there yet. Until science can make us safe, we must remain vigilant and keep following the rules that we know can keep this virus under control.”
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has now started a rolling review of Moderna’s vaccine, during which it will review any available data as it becomes available.
Chair of the government’s Vaccine Taskforce Kate Bingham said: “Today’s news from Moderna is very encouraging. The Moderna mRNA vaccine has posted excellent efficacy data to date from its initial phase 3 readout. The vaccine uses mRNA technology demonstrating that these novel vaccines are showing early promise in being effective against Covid-19.
The government has now signed agreements with seven vaccine developers to secure the most promising vaccines for the UK. The government’s Vaccine Taskforce are pursuing a portfolio approach to obtaining vaccines for the UK across different vaccine formats, to maximise the chances of finding safe and effective vaccines.
“We will continue to monitor the field of promising vaccines, and are very encouraged by the effectiveness shown by these early frontrunners, but we must remain vigilant to the fact that no vaccine is yet approved for use by regulators.”