Re: Shorter development and new technologies
"But at least in the UK, none of the vaccines are yet to be fully licensed"
I think you mean 'Approved'. When Pfizer was approved, it was under a temporary (1 year) term. This was because we were still 'in' the EU and the EMA had to approve the vaccine for full approval. As a short term, emergency measure, individual countries could approve a vaccine or medication pending the approval of the EMA (which has happened) subject to a limited term of temporary approval.
As to the quick turn around: Yes, it was the removal of delays in the overall process that saw this happen. So all the hoops were jumped through, I's dotted, T's crossed, etc.
And example of how the process was sped up was in the testing: AZ, as the example, started production AT RISK at the start of the trials. All volunteers for ALL trials were found before the first trial began. The first trial is for immediate reactions: Is it safe to administer. It's then followed by a test to see if it's effective. As it passed that first point in the first trial, the second, larger trial, began. And similarly the third: They overlapped. So AT RISK, they were carried out over a shorter period, but each was a full trial.
Also, the funding was there from the start: No hunting around for it. And production was under way (again, the at risk) so there was no delay in supplying the first doses.
For clarity: At Risk means financial risk to AZ. If the vaccine had failed to meet standards, or to be approved, the whole lot would have been destroyed. This did happen to some other vaccines, which did not prove to be effective enough.