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People from the North East play leading role in getting Oxford COVID vaccine approved


People from the North East play leading role in getting Oxford COVID vaccine approved

  • 30/12/2020
  • Health & Social Care Research, Blood & Immune System, Infectious diseases

People in the North East have played a key role in leading to today’s announcement to approve the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in the UK. 

The regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) reviewed the data collected by researchers, including 695 participants who took part at the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Development of the vaccine was funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Department of Health and Social Care through the National Institute for Health Research, as part of the joint rapid research response.

Dr Christopher Duncan, Honorary Consultant in Infectious Diseases and Principle Investigator at the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“It is fantastic news. I’d like to pay tribute to the participants who selflessly volunteered to take part in this important study. We owe them a debt of gratitude. The entire team in Newcastle should be rightly proud of their contribution to this major achievement.”

Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Office for England and co-lead of the National Institute for Health Research, said: 

“It is very good news that the independent regulator has now authorised for use the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. There has been a considerable collective effort that has brought us to this point. The dedication and hard work of scientists, regulators and those who funded the research, such as the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI) and United Kingdom Vaccine Network (UKVN), and the willingness and selflessness of so many volunteers who took part in the vaccine trials were essential in delivering this safe and effective vaccine. They deserve our recognition and thanks.”

Professor Andrew Pollard, Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group and Chief Investigator of the Oxford Vaccine Trial, said:

“The regulator’s assessment that this is a safe and effective vaccine is a landmark moment, and an endorsement of the huge effort from a devoted international team of researchers and our dedicated trial participants.

“Though this is just the beginning, we will start to get ahead of the pandemic, protect health and economies when the vulnerable are vaccinated everywhere, as many as possible as soon as possible.”



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