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Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine turns into third shot licensed to be used in U.Ok.

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Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by the UK regulator for emergency use and brings a third shot to the country battling an increase in coronavirus cases.

The Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved the use of the two-shot vaccine developed by Moderna MRNA, -2.02% after a “thorough and rigorous assessment,” the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs said in a statement Friday .

Read: The UK is the first country to introduce the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine

Three COVID-19 vaccines have now been approved for use in the UK: those from German company BioNTech BNTX (+ 5.13%) and US partner Pfizer PFE (+ 0.01%) and from AstraZeneca AZN (+ 0.67%) vaccines developed at Oxford University are already approved to be introduced across the country that has struggled to contain the outbreak of a more contagious COVID-19 strain.

A variant found in South Africa is another problem for health authorities.

Read: The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine appears to protect against UK and South African strains of COVID-19

On Thursday, the UK recorded 1,162 deaths a day, the second highest number since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The UK government agreed to purchase 10 million doses of Moderna vaccine on top of its previous 7 million order for a grand total of 17 million.

“We have already vaccinated nearly 1.5 million people across the UK through our vaccine delivery plan,” UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said in a statement. “The Moderna vaccine will improve our vaccination program even further once doses become available in the spring.”

Like the Pfizer BioNTech shot, Moderna’s vaccine uses the mRNA approach, which sends a message to cells telling them to make proteins to generate an immune response.

Moderna’s vaccine, which has been shown to be 94% effective at preventing the coronavirus, can be stored for up to six months at standard freezing temperatures of -20 degrees Celsius. After thawing, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 30 days.

Read: Moderna stock starts the year on a bump

Earlier this week, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommended Moderna’s vaccine for conditional marketing approval, making it the second vaccine in the 27-member European Union.

“With the Moderna vaccine, the second now approved in the EU, we will receive an additional 160 million doses. And there will be more vaccines, ”said the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in a statement.

On Friday, the EMA announced that the product information for the COVID-19 vaccine from BioNTech and Pfizer should be updated to say that each vial contains six doses. The approval for the vaccine, known as Comirnaty in Europe on December 21, in the European Union, shows that each vial contains five doses.

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