AstraZeneca expects to have four million doses available in Britain by the end of next month and Health Secretary Matt Hancock aims to start rolling it out before Christmas.
“We have formally requested the Medicines Regulatory Authority to evaluate the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine to understand the data and determine whether it meets stringent safety standards,” Hancock said in a statement.
He added, “This message is an important step towards launching a vaccine as quickly as possible safely.”
The UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency is already evaluating the vaccine in a “rolling review”, with data on safety and efficacy coming in.
Hancock also asked the agency to approve the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine after it had been shown to be 95% effective.
Oxford and AstraZeneca published provisional results of efficacy on Monday, which showed that the vaccine can be 90% effective when given as a half dose followed by a full dose.