AstraZeneca shares were among the leaders on the FTSE in early trading on Wednesday as Britain became the first country to approve the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine for widespread use. Yahoo Finance's Kumutha Ramanathan discusses.
- Let's stay on vaccines and talk about some exciting news today out of the UK. Yahoo Finance's Kumutha Ramanathan joins us now with the latest on AstraZeneca efforts along with Oxford University. Kumutha.
KUMUTHA RAMANATHAN: Hi there. Yes, the UK government has approved the Oxford and AstraZeneca vaccine today. Now, shares of AstraZeneca have gone up 3.3% and even higher this morning on the back of this news. According to the UK health minister, he's hoping that this vaccine is very much going to be a way out of the pandemic by spring, as early as spring, he says, because he has such great hopes for the vaccine and the ability to sort of advance the vast and mass immunization program in the UK.
Now, the UK is set to have a very rigorous testing process. The UK health minister is assuring everyone, we have one such mass vaccination programs for decades, been successful at it, so we very much believe that this is going to be the one that moves the needle forward. Now, the National Health Service does have a clear delivery plan.
They're going to be making the most at-risk groups, as well as those over 80, the primary targets for the first phase of the immunization program. Also important to note that it's going to be taking place in conference venues, as well as sports stadiums. And more positive news for the UK, because the UK, like the US, is very much feeling the COVID fatigue and all of the issues around looming lockdowns, and of course, Christmas being cut short.
- All right, Yahoo Finance's Kumutha Ramanathan with, I guess now the third Western-developed drug that has been approved for emergency use. Hopefully, as you mentioned, we can get these drugs out efficiently, not only in the UK, but here in the US. Thanks for joining.