UK’s MHRA approves Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine

The MHRA has given the green light to the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for use in the UK, making it the third to be approved in the country.

A third COVID-19 vaccine has received approval from the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). 

Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, mRNA-1273, has been given the authorisation for use in the UK. It is the second messenger RNA (mRNA) COVID-19 vaccine to receive approval from the MHRA, with the first being the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

This Moderna vaccine works by injecting a small part of the COVID-19 virus’ genetic code using mRNA, which triggers an immune response and creates antibodies in the human body able to fight the virus. The dosage for this specific vaccine requires two doses to be given. It is recommended to administer the second dose 28 days after the first. It is approved for use in people 18 years and over and it can be used by pregnant and breastfeeding women following a discussion with their healthcare provider on the benefits and risks.

MHRA Chief Executive Dr June Raine said: “Today’s approval brings more encouraging news to the public and the healthcare sector. Having a third COVID-19 vaccine approved for supply following a robust and thorough assessment of all the available data is an important goal to have achieved and I am proud that the agency has helped to make this a reality… Once in use, all COVID-19 vaccines are continually monitored by the MHRA. This ensures that the benefits in protecting people against COVID-19 continue to far outweigh any potential side-effects.”

The UK has pre-ordered 17 million doses of the vaccine.  However, supplies of the vaccine are not expected to arrive in the country until spring. 

The Moderna vaccine requires temperatures of around -20°C for shipping – similar to a normal freezer – for up to six months.