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The UK has secured five million doses of the Moderna vaccine, Matt Hancock has announced.
Speaking at a Downing Street briefing, the health secretary said the 94.5 percent efficacy indicated by its preliminary results was encouraging.
He added that the vaccine would not be available until spring.
Dr Stephen Hoge, the president of US company Moderna, said he 'grinned ear to ear' when the results came in.
Speaking to the BBC, he said: "I don't think any of us really hoped that the vaccine would be 94% effective at preventing Covid-19 disease, that was really a stunning realisation."
UK has secured "an initial agreement" for five million doses of a new vaccine, Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirms- BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) November 16, 2020
The vaccine that protects against Covid-19 is nearly 95% effective, early data from US company Moderna shows
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Speaking about the breakthrough, Dr Albert Bourla, the chairman of Pfizer, said he hoped this would help bring about an end to the suffering being experienced around the world.
He said: "Today is a great day for science and humanity. The first set of results from our Phase 3 Covid-19 vaccine trial provides the initial evidence of our vaccine's ability to prevent Covid-19.
"With today's news, we are a significant step closer to providing people around the world with a much-needed breakthrough to help bring an end to this global health crisis."
Meanwhile, the NHS is readying itself to administer jabs as soon as vaccines are available.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme earlier this month, NHS England Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens said: "We're also gearing the NHS up to be ready to make a start on administering Covid-19 vaccines before Christmas, if they become available.
"We will be writing to GP practices this week to get them geared up to start by Christmas if the vaccine becomes available."
The UK government's current ranking of vaccine priority groups reads as follows (though this is subject to change):
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