The United Kingdom has approved Covid-19 Vaccine produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and will start distributing from next week. The approval by UK Regulatory authorities makes the country the first to approve the vaccine in the world.
The emergency authorization clears the way for the rollout of the vaccine which had been certified to be 95% effective in preventing illness in the final analysis of phase 3 trial, from early next week.
The vaccine is given in two shots (doses).
According to reports the vaccine will be administered firstly to medical workers and home caregivers, frontline health workers, those aged 80 and above before being made available to the general public.
The vaccine was made by German company BioNTech in conjunction with US Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and is said to be 95% effective in preventing the disease. This is after it was tested on over 43, 000 people in the mandatory phase 3 trials.
The US Food and Drug Administration is currently reviewing the vaccine and could also approve its usage later in the month.
What they are saying
The government in its statement said, “The government has today accepted the recommendation from the Independent Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for use.’’
A UK government spokesperson also said:
“The vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week. The NHS has decades of experience in delivering large scale vaccination programmes and will begin putting their extensive preparations into action to provide care and support to all those eligible for vaccination.”
“I’m confident now, with the news today, that from spring — from Easter onwards — things are going to be better. We’re going to have a summer next year that everybody can enjoy.” Matt Hancock, UK health secretary.
Matt Hancock revealed that this is going to be one of the biggest civilian projects in history as 50 hospitals are preparing to administer the vaccine with 800,000 doses ready to be delivered from Belgium.
Hancock said, “I’m obviously absolutely thrilled with the news, very proud that the UK is the first place in the world to have a clinically authorized vaccine.’’
The UK regulator said on Wednesday, that the Covid-19, met its strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.
The UK had earlier given hope that it was going to act swiftly in approving a vaccine and then put doctors across the country on standby for a possible rollout. This will also come as a relief to the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, who has been facing a series of criticisms over his handling of the pandemic that has killed almost 60,000 people in the UK.
The UK’s vaccine committee is expected to decide which priority groups will be given the shot first; care home residents, health and care staff, the elderly and people who are clinically extremely vulnerable will be first in line.
The United Kingdom is said to have ordered over 357 million doses from seven manufacturers.
What you should know:
Pfizer has earlier announced that the Covid-19 vaccine it is developing in collaboration with its German partner, BioNTech, was certified 95% effective in preventing illness, much higher than expected. The approval of the vaccine by UK regulator, ahead of US counterpart, who is set to meet on December 10, to decide on whether to recommend emergency use authorization, marks a historic moment in the fight against COVID-19.
The European Medicines Agency had disclosed that it could give emergency approval for the Pfizer vaccine by December 29.
China has already given emergency approval for 3 experimental vaccines and has immunized about 1 million people since July.