A third COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by the regulator after meeting strict safety requirements.
The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is 94% effective in preventing disease, including in the elderly, however, supplies are not expected to be available until the spring.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “This is further great news and another weapon in our arsenal to tame this awful disease.
“We have already vaccinated nearly 1.5 million people across the UK and Moderna’s vaccine will allow us to accelerate our vaccination programme even further once doses become available from the spring.
“While we immunise those most at risk from COVID, I urge everyone to continue following the rules to keep cases low to protect our loved ones.”
The government has agreed to purchase an additional 10m doses of the vaccine on top of a previous order of 7 million doses.
Elderly care home residents and their carers are being prioritised in the current roll-out of Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines.
The government has set a target of immunising all elderly care home residents by the end of January but Prime Minister Boris Johnson admitted earlier this week that the programme needs to be stepped up as just one in ten residents have so far been vaccinated.