The UK is the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for use.
MHRA has authorised the supply of COVID-19 mRNA vaccine for emergency supply under Regulation 174; Companies are reportedly ready to deliver the first doses to the UK immediately.
“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,” the government said.
“The vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week.”
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is understood to perform even better than previously thought with 95% efficacy, this paved the way for regulators to grant an emergency licence and vaccination campaigns to begin.
Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Pfizer, said in a news release:
“Today’s Emergency Use Authorization in the U.K. marks a historic moment in the fight against COVID-19. This authorization is a goal we have been working toward since we first declared that science will win, and we applaud the MHRA for their ability to conduct a careful assessment and take timely action to help protect the people of the U.K. As we anticipate further authorizations and approvals, we are focused on moving with the same level of urgency to safely supply a high-quality vaccine around the world. With thousands of people becoming infected, every day matters in the collective race to end this devastating pandemic.”
Who will get the vaccine
The NHS will start giving the coronavirus vaccine as soon as it is available. At first, the vaccine will be offered to people who are most at risk from coronavirus, before being offered more widely.
The vaccine will first be offered to:
- people who live in care homes and care home workers
- people aged 80 and over
- health and social care workers in England
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said:
“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. To aid the success of the vaccination programme it is vital everyone continues to play their part and abide by the necessary restrictions in their area so we can further suppress the virus and allow the NHS to do its work without being overwhelmed. Further details will be set out shortly.”