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Third COVID-19 Vaccine Set To Roll Out ‘As Early As Tomorrow’

"We think we have figured out the winning formula"
An illustrative photo showing a medical syringe seen in front of Pfizer-BionTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-University of Oxford logos displayed on screens in the background on Christmas Eve. On Thursday, December 24, 2020, in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo illustration by
Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The CEO of pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca says its COVID-19 vaccine has an efficacy rate near to that of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines as reports emerged that the two-shot inoculation could be approved “as early as tomorrow.”

“We think we have figured out the winning formula and how to get efficacy that, after two doses, is up there with everybody else,” Pascal Soriot, chief executive of the British-Swedish firm, said, according to the Daily Mail. “His comments come as officials reportedly prepare to approve the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab as early as tomorrow,” the U.K. paper wrote.

AstraZeneca and Oxford University on Nov. 23 said their jointly created COVID-19 vaccine will be easier to distribute than the Pfizer vaccine, which must be stored at -94 degrees.

But initial tests of AstraZeneca’s vaccine showed it was 62% effective when two full doses were given at least a month apart. Yet the efficacy rate rose to 90% when people were given half a dose of the vaccine followed by a full dose at least a month later.

“We would have preferred a simpler set of results, but overall we thought these are positive,” Soriot said.

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi told The Sun that approval for the vaccine would likely be granted on Monday, while The Telegraph reported plans to roll out the vaccine to the entire country starting Jan. 4. The U.K. government has pre-ordered 100 million doses of vaccine, which was developed by researchers at Oxford.

Pfizer’s vaccine, the first in the U.S., was approved by the FDA for emergency use authorization (EUA) on Dec. 11. That vaccine is already being distributed and put into use. The FDA on Dec. 18 also approved Moderna’s EUA request.

Moderna said its data showed their vaccine was 95% effective in its late-stage clinical trial, the same as Pfizer’s. The Moderna vaccine was developed in conjunction with the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed.

Last week, a new strain of COVID-19 was been found in the United Kingdom. That strain reportedly spreads more easily and is causing some alarm — though it’s not clear if the morphed strain is more deadly or causes more severe symptoms.

Viruses are always evolving in an attempt to keep spreading — and in many cases, the easier it is to catch, the less deadly it is. The “flu,” for instance, is a collection of viruses that compete for spread, which is why flu vaccines change every year, too.

In addition, new strains of COVID-19, which was first discovered in China, have been seen since the virus emerged approximately a year ago in Wuhan.

But the fact that the virus is changing — just as vaccines to target it are being distributed — has created some concerns. “Health experts in the U.K. and U.S. said the strain seems to infect more easily than others, but there is no evidence yet it is more deadly,” The Associated Press reported last Sunday.

Related: Fauci Says New, More Contagious COVID-19 Strain From U.K. Is Likely In U.S. By Now

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