Britain on Wednesday became the first country in the world to approve a coronavirus vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca as it battles a major winter surge driven by a new, highly contagious variant of the virus.
Britain had already granted emergency use approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, earlier in December.
Health Secretary Hancock said on Wednesday that the University of Oxford and drug manufacturer AstraZeneca had applied to the UK health regulator for permission to roll out their Covid-19 vaccine.
The rollout of the vaccine would begin on January 4.
The Serum Institute of India is also testing and producing the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in India, under the name Covishield
Britain and South Africa in particular are grappling with new variants of the coronavirus, which the government and scientists say are more contagious; many countries have responded by banning passenger flights and blocking trade.
If approved soon, the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID vaccine will be the first vaccine approved for public use in India.