U.K. to Clear Moderna Vaccine as Soon as Friday

The U.K. is reviewingModerna Inc.’s Covid-19 vaccine on an accelerated timetable and is poised to authorize it for emergency use as soon as Friday, according to people familiar with the situation.

The U.S. company’s shot would be the third vaccine approved in the U.K. as the country ramps up immunizations against the fast-spreading coronavirus and the infection rate soars. The Covid death toll now stands at more than 78,000 across the country.

Britain has ordered 7 million doses of the vaccine, but they were not expected to be delivered until later this year.AstraZeneca Plc and the University of Oxford’s Covid-19 shots won U.K. clearance late last month. That followed authorization of another vaccine, fromPfizer Inc. andBioNTech SE, in early December. TheEuropean Union and the U.S. have also cleared the Moderna product.

Moderna shares rose 1.6% in premarket U.S. trading.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pinned his hopes for a national recovery on a plan to deliver 2 million coronavirus vaccinations a week, after the U.K. went back into lockdown in an attempt to prevent hospitals being overwhelmed.

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