Three Covid vaccines have now been approved for use in the UK.

The Moderna jab was given the green light on Friday, making it the third to be approved in the country.

Here is everything you need to know about the three vaccines:


The Moderna vaccine was just approved today for use in the UK. It was made in the US and Americans have rolled it out already. Although the UK has recently bought 17 million doses, it won’t be available until spring.

It’s quite similar to the Pfizer vaccine in how it works as well as the protection level that it offers. It injects part of the virus’ genetic code to generate an immune response in the body against Covid-19, and after receiving two doses, four weeks apart, it offers 95% protection against the virus.

READ MORE: Third Covid-19 vaccine approved in UK as government orders extra 10m doses

Scottish secretary Alister Jack said: “The regulator’s approval of the Moderna vaccine is great news. With three vaccines now approved there is most definitely light at the end of the tunnel.

“We have doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines right now. It is the responsibility of the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland to get that current supply of jabs into as many people’s arms as soon as possible.”


The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was the UK’s first, and in fact the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine, getting approval on December 2, 2020. It was manufactured on sites in Germany and Belgium. 

Like Moderna, this vaccine also needs two doses, but there has been some dispute about the time between them. Initially it was 21 days and now it is within 12 weeks. Regardless, once a person has received two doses, they will be 95% protected against coronavirus

READ MORE: Pfizer coronavirus vaccine in Scotland: Who will get it, when and how?

So far, the UK has ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and it has been quite successful, even against the new strains of the virus it looks promising.


Professor Deborah Dunn-Walters, chair of the British Society for Immunology COVID-19 and Immunology taskforce, said a person’s immune response is thought to be diverse enough to cope with some changes to the virus’ structure.

She said mutations need constant monitoring and “even if we did see any differences, the technology used to make the vaccines means they can be changed quite quickly if necessary.”



The Oxford vaccine is a little different to the other two in its approach to the virus. Developed in the UK and approved on December 30, 2020, the UK was the first country to approve this vaccine as well.

The UK has ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford vaccine, and based on its population, Scotland will see 8.2% of the doses.

The Oxford vaccine works by sneaking the coronavirus gene into human cells via another harmless virus, thereby creating the ‘spike protein’. The body then generates its immune response to Covid-19, protecting the body for future encounters.

The vaccine has varying results depending on the dosage but with two full separate doses the vaccine is on average 70% effective. 

READ MORE: Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine approved for use in UK

The advantage of the Oxford vaccine is that it’s one of the easiest to store, it can be kept at fridge temperatures and can handle long shipping journeys. 

Calum Semple, professor of outbreak medicine at the University of Liverpool and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), described the vaccine as a “game changer” but said it would take until summer to vaccinate enough people for herd immunity – when the virus struggles to circulate.

“To get the wider community herd immunity from vaccination rather than through natural infection will take probably 70% to 80% of the population to be vaccinated, and that, I’m afraid, is going to take us right into the summer, I expect,” he said.

Each vaccine will be given to the most vulnerable first, who are listed out as nine high-priority groups, and there is hope that this will be achieved by April 2021.