Doses of the Moderna vaccine could become available in Europe by spring - and an extra 2m doses secured by the government on top of 5m agreed earlier this month mean the UK could have a supply sufficient to vaccinate 3.5m people.
The deal represents a relatively small part of the potential total UK COVID-19 vaccine supply. The government has signed deals with seven different suppliers that could deliver 357m doses of vaccine in total - if candidate vaccines are approved.
The vaccine deal comes after GPonline reported last week that GPs could begin to deliver COVID-19 vaccination from as soon as 7 December - with practices designated to administer vaccines to be given 10 days' notice ahead of delivery of vaccine stocks.
The Moderna vaccine is currently in phase three trials and has released data showing it is almost 95% effective in preventing cases of COVID-19.
Two other leading vaccine candidates are undergoing assessment by the MHRA ahead of possible approval for use in the UK.
The MHRA said last week it had received further data on the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine - also found to be 95% effective in trials - and that because it had already begun assessment through a 'rolling review' while the vaccine was in development, it would now 'aim to make a decision in the shortest time possible'.
The government has also asked the MHRA to begin assessment of the Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccine - which has reported up to 90% effectiveness.
Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said: 'Every week, we are getting more positive news about the range of vaccines in development, and thanks to the work of our taskforce the UK has pre-ordered hundreds of millions of doses from those companies most advanced in their work.
'This includes buying a further 2m doses of Moderna’s vaccine, on top of the 5m we’ve already secured. With a wide range of vaccine candidates in our portfolio, we stand ready to deploy a vaccine should they receive approval from our medicines regulator, starting with those who will benefit most.'
LMCs highlighted concerns in the profession over plans to roll out vaccine delivery in general practice, backing a motion at the 2020 England LMCs conference calling for the COVID-19 vaccine enhanced service agreed between NHS England and the BMA's GP committee to be renegotiated.
Under the plans as they stand, GP practices are set to deliver vaccinations from a single site in most of England's 1,250 primary care network areas - with a single 'host' practice to receive all payments for vaccinations - leaving practices to agree between them how the funding should be distributed between practices in each area.