UK becomes the first country to approve Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine

The mass immunisation with the vaccine will commence next week onward in the UK for those with the highest risk from the deadly virus.

Credit : CNBC

The United Kingdom becomes the first country to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against the novel Coronavirus Disease which has claimed millions of lives in the last one year. The mass immunisation with the vaccine will commence next week onward for those with the highest risk from the deadly virus.

While the UK has purchased 40 million doses of the vaccine, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has informed that 800,000 doses will be available next week.

The vaccine showed 95 percent efficacy in the trial phase across gender/ race, and ethnicity. It was equally effective among the young volunteers and those over 65 years of age who are more at risk from COVID-19.

The vaccine was earlier authorised by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) which is the executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) in the UK. The MHRA was directed to approve the vaccine by the government under special regulations before January 1, when it will become fully responsible for medicines authorisation in the UK after Brexit.

A spokesperson of DHSC said, “This follows months of rigorous clinical trials and a thorough analysis of the data by experts at the MHRA who have concluded that the vaccine has met its strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.”



According to Hancock, the elderly and those in care homes, including the staff, will be first in line for the vaccines and then it essentially comes down to the age range, the BBC News reported. Since the vaccine needs to be stored at -70 degrees Celsius, Hancock has expressed that rolling out vaccines across the country will be challenging. However, according to Pfizer, the vaccine can also be stored at home in the fridge at 2-8 degrees Celsius. Besides the specialist vaccination centres that are being built, a network of 50 hospitals is also ready to deliver the first jabs of the vaccine. Each person will require two jabs of the vaccine, with a goal of vaccinating through the NHS across the UK as rapidly as the company can manufacture.

While speaking to The Guardian, Hancock said: “So many families have suffered, including my own. I’m just so, so pleased … 2020 has been just awful and 2021 is going to be better. Help is on its way. Help is on its way with this vaccine – and we can now say that with certainty rather than with all the caveats that we normally have to put around that. 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. Between now and then we’ve got to hold our resolve.”