The Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine has been approved for use in the UK.

The new vaccine has been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

It is the fist single-dose vaccine to be approved in the UK and the fourth overall after the Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

The news comes as the vaccine rollout continues to gather pace with Matt Hancock announcing this week that 60 million coronavirus vaccine doses have been given in the UK.

Welcoming the approval of the vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen, the Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “This is a further boost to the UK’s hugely successful vaccination programme, which has already saved over 13,000 lives, and means that we now have four safe and effective vaccines approved to help protect people from this awful virus.

“As Janssen is a single-dose vaccine, it will play an important role in the months to come as we redouble our efforts to encourage everyone to get their jabs and potentially begin a booster programme later this year.”

The UK has ordered 20 million doses of the vaccine, which England’s deputy chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, has previously said could be used for hard-to-reach groups of people, where recalling them for a second jab is not always successful.