LONDON—The U.K.’s health regulator authorized the use of Moderna Inc.’s Covid-19 vaccine on Friday, boosting the number of different shots at the country’s disposal to three as it battles a new variant of the virus.
The U.K. government said it agreed to purchase 17 million doses of the vaccine, which it expects to be delivered in spring once the U.S. drugmaker expands its production capacity.
The U.K. has already authorized two other vaccines against the virus: one developed jointly by Pfizer Inc. and Germany’s BioNTech SE , and another by AstraZeneca PLC and the University of Oxford.
The Moderna vaccine, based on similar mRNA technology to that of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot, was cleared for use in the European Union earlier this week and is already being rolled out in the U.S.
Britain is the first Western nation to have cleared three vaccines, as it embarks on a mass inoculation drive. The government is seeking to vaccinate around two million people a week in a bid to protect those most vulnerable to the disease.