Health

Moderna boss says his firm is on track to make sure Britain gets all 17million doses

Moderna boss says his firm is on track to make sure Britain gets all 17million doses of its Covid vaccine by the end of the year

  • Dan Staner said the company was on track to deliver all doses by the end of 2021
  • UK has ordered 17million from the company – enough to inoculate 8.5million
  • And ministers insist they have enough for under-30s to get jabbed in time 

Head of European operations, Dan Staner, said they were on track with deliveries

Moderna is on track to deliver all the doses Britain has ordered by the end of the year, one of the company’s senior officials said today, 

Ministers have struck a deal for 17million doses of the two-dose jab – enough for 8.5million people.

The first batch of 100,000 doses have arrived, with Wales and Scotland using the jab already. Supplies are expected to ‘significantly increase’ from next month.

The jab will be essential for the roll-out moving forward, after the drug regulator ruled under-30s should receive an alternative to AstraZeneca‘s vaccine.

But should the restriction be extended to under-40s, like health chiefs hinted today, then the drive could be thrown into difficulty.

More than 31.8million Britons – or three in five adults – have already received a first dose of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine. 

Moderna’s head of European operations, Dan Staner, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme they would be able to supply all ordered doses this year. 

More than 13.8million Britons have already received a first dose of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine, and the first Moderna dose were rolled out in Wales this week

More than 13.8million Britons have already received a first dose of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine, and the first Moderna dose were rolled out in Wales this week

UNDER-40S COULD ALSO BE GIVEN ALTERNATIVE JABS 

AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine may also be restricted for under-40s when Britain’s immunisation drive moves down to younger age groups, it was claimed today.

Medical watchdogs will assess data on the jab’s links to extremely rare blood clots in ‘scrupulous detail’ in order to paint a clearer picture on the exact risk-benefit ratio.

They have already advised 18 to 29 year olds are given an alternative to the UK-made jab because their odds of falling seriously ill with Covid are so small that the benefits of AstraZeneca’s do not clearly outweigh the potential clot risks.

Professor Jeremy Brown, a member of the JCVI, which advises No10 on jabs, told the Daily Telegraph: ‘We’re going to start vaccinating phase two healthy adults, starting with the 40 to 50-year-olds, and then we’ll go to the 30 to 40-year-olds.

‘When we are approaching that point we’ll need to think about this a little bit more to be absolutely sure at what point in that age cut-off – given the situation we are facing at that time, and any more data that comes through on this rare complication, because more data will come through – then that might alter the age range.’

Statisticians insist the risk of under-30s developing blood clots from AstraZeneca’s jab is so tiny that if Wembley stadium was filled with people in the age group, only one would be struck down.

‘The first deliveries are starting in April, and between April and the year’s end, we’re supposed to deliver to the expectations in the contract with the UK Government of 17million doses, which is enough to cover 8.5million people,’ he said. 

‘We feel very good. Our contracts are usually on a quarterly basis. 

‘[And] I’m very happy to let you know Moderna, across all of European countries at the end of Q1 (January to March), has been able to deliver on its commitments.

‘We have very good hope we’ll be able to deliver on our second quarter (April to June) commitments as well.’ 

The Moderna jab is based on mRNA technology, similar to Pfizer’s, which triggers the production of Covid spike proteins that spark an immune response.

The vaccine was shown to be 94 per cent effective at preventing symptomatic Covid in trials, and works just as well against the Kent variant – which is the most dominant strain in the UK.

But concerns were raised it may be less able to fight off the South African or Brazilian strains – with experts at the US company already working on booster shots.

It comes after it was claimed today AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine may also be restricted for under-40s when Britain’s immunisation drive moves down to younger age groups.

Medical watchdogs will assess data on the jab’s links to extremely rare blood clots in ‘scrupulous detail’ in order to paint a clearer picture on the exact risk-benefit ratio.

They have already advised 18 to 29 year olds are given an alternative to the UK-made jab because their odds of falling seriously ill with Covid are so small that the benefits of AstraZeneca’s do not clearly outweigh the potential clot risks.

Analysis of the UK vaccine rollout has found that younger people appear more prone to clotting after vaccination but there is no set cut-off age. Experts told MailOnline there is a ‘gradual age gradient of risk’.

Professor Jeremy Brown, a member of the JCVI, which advises No10 on jabs, told the Daily Telegraph: ‘We’re going to start vaccinating phase two healthy adults, starting with the 40 to 50-year-olds, and then we’ll go to the 30 to 40-year-olds.

‘When we are approaching that point we’ll need to think about this a little bit more to be absolutely sure at what point in that age cut-off – given the situation we are facing at that time, and any more data that comes through on this rare complication, because more data will come through – then that might alter the age range.’

Statisticians insist the risk of under-30s developing blood clots from AstraZeneca’s jab is so tiny that if Wembley stadium was filled with people in the age group, only one would be struck down.

For older adults, the risk of blood clots is even smaller – but their risk of dying from Covid is much higher, meaning the risks versus benefits swings heavily in favour of vaccination.

WHICH VACCINES ARE BRITAIN USING? AND HOW EFFECTIVE ARE THEY?

Pfizer-BioNTech

Approved: December 2, 2020

Doses dished out: 10.8million*

Doses ordered: 40million

Phase 3 trials data

  • Efficacy at blocking symptoms: 95%
  • Efficacy against severe illness: 100%

Real world data

  • Efficacy at stopping transmission: 66% 
  • Efficacy at blocking symptoms (one dose): Between 57 and 61% 
  • Efficacy against severe illness: 80%

How it works: mRNA vaccine – Genetic material from coronavirus is injected to trick the immune system into making ‘spike’ proteins and learning how to attack them.

Oxford-AstraZeneca

Approved: December 30, 2020

Doses dished out: 15.8million*

Doses ordered: 100million

Phase 3 trials data

  • Efficacy at blocking symptoms (one dose): 70% 
  • Efficacy against severe illness (one dose): 100%

Real world data

  • Efficacy at stopping transmission: 70% 
  • Efficacy at blocking symptoms: Between 60 and 73%
  • Efficacy against severe illness: 80% 

How it works: Adenovirus vaccine – To make the vaccine, the common cold virus is genetically modified to trigger it to make the Covid spike protein — which the virus uses to invade cells.

When the vaccine is administered the patient’s immune system attacks the spike protein by building antibodies, priming it to fight off Covid before it leads to an infection.

Moderna

Approved: January 8, 2021

Doses dished out: Zero

Doses ordered: 17million

Phase 3 trials data

  • Efficacy at blocking symptoms: 94.1% 
  • Efficacy against severe illness: 100%

Real world data

  • Efficacy at stopping transmission: Not known 
  • Efficacy at blocking symptoms: 90%** 
  • Efficacy against severe illness: Not known

How it works: mRNA vaccine – both Moderna’s and Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccines work in the same way.

* the latest data goes up to March 21 

** data taken from a US study, joint with Pfizer. Other real world data comes from Public Health England in the UK 

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