Unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which must be kept at minus 70 degrees Celsius, the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab can be stored in a standard fridge, making it much easier to transport to hospitals and care homes.
It also has a different mode of delivery. While the AstraZeneca vaccine involves injecting part of the virus’s genetic code into a person to stimulate a response from the immune system, the UK jab will inject genes from SARS-Cov-2 via a genetically modified common cold virus.
The race is now on for the UK to vaccinate people as quickly as possible while trying to halt the rising number of infections that have pushed the National Health Service to breaking point.
According to UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock, the approval of the Oxford vaccine is also good news for poorer nations, who will be able to buy it at low cost and begin their own vaccination programs.
He added it will help “protect countless people from this awful disease.”