World gets its first Covid vaccine
UK clears Pfizer vaccine N Rollout from next week
London/Berlin: The UK on Wednesday became the first country to approve the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech SE. The vaccine will be available in Britain from next week, according to a statement from the UK government. The emergency authorization clears the way for the deployment of a vaccine that's expected to play a significant role in the global effort to halt the coronavirus.
"The government has accepted the recommendation from the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve Pfizer-BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine for use. 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," the UK government said in a statement.
"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," the statement added.
Britain's approval of BioNTech-Pfizer's vaccine against Covid-19 marks a "historic moment" in the battle against the pandemic, the US pharma group's chief executive said. "Today's Emergency Use Authorisation in the UK marks a historic moment in the fight against Covid-19," said Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla.
Pfizer and its German partner said in November that the shot, relying on novel technology called messenger RNA, was 95% effective in a final analysis of clinical-trial data.
The UK had signalled it would move swiftly in approving a vaccine as part of an operation to protect its population, and doctors across the country were put on standby for a possible rollout.
The UK has ordered enough doses of the two-shot Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to immunize 20 million people. The companies also have deals to supply hundreds of millions of shots to Europe, the US, Japan and elsewhere.
Pfizer and BioNTech earlier this week sought regulatory clearance for their vaccine in the European Union, putting the shot on track for potential approval there before the end of the year. In the US, a Food and Drug Administration panel is set to meet on Dec. 10 to discuss the vaccine.