AstraZeneca and other developers have said they are studying the impact of the new variant but expect that their shots will be effective against it.
Regulatory endorsement is a welcome boost for AstraZeneca and the Oxford team, which have been accused of a lack of clarity about the results from late-stage trials.
AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot said “today is an important day for millions of people in the U.K. who will get access to this new vaccine. It has been shown to be effective, well-tolerated, simple to administer and is supplied by AstraZeneca at no profit.
He added: “We would like to thank our many colleagues at AstraZeneca, Oxford University, the UK government and the tens of thousands of clinical trial participants.”
Australia has secured 53.8 million doses of the Oxford vaccine, most of which could be manufactured locally by CSL. The federal government has also ordered 10 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which will all have to be imported.