The UK has become the first country to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for Coronavirus, with the government ordering 40m doses.
The vaccine, which has an effectiveness of 95 percent, has been approved by health regulator MHRA. 40 million doses is enough to vaccinate 20 million people, with those classed as “high priority” at the front of the queue.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), will publish its advice on priority groups, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said. These include, care home residents, over 80’s and NHS staff.
Health secretary Matt Hancock spoke to the BBC, “”From next week, we’ll be able to start rolling this out. We’ll start with those who are most vulnerable to coronavirus. Once we’ve protected the most vulnerable it will help us all get back to normal and back to all the things that we love.”
When asked how it would be administered, he added, “The first is hospitals themselves, which of course we’ve got facilities like this, 50 hospitals across the country are already set up and waiting to receive the vaccine as soon as it’s approved, so that can now happen.”
The vaccine, is the fastest ever to be developed. From creation to reality, it took approximately 10 months. An initial batch of 800,000 vaccines are set to arrive in the next few days, according to the BBC. It will require two jabs, 21 days apart. 50 hospitals are on standby to receive the vaccine.
In a briefing from Downing Street, the head of the MHRA, Dr June Raine, answered questions from the media and looked to ease fears about the speed of approval. “No corners have been cut. Batches of the vaccine will be tested in labs so that every single vaccine that goes out meets the same high standards of safety”, she said.
Help is on its way.
The MHRA has formally authorised the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for Covid-19.
The NHS stands ready to start vaccinating early next week.
The UK is the first country in the world to have a clinically approved vaccine for supply.
— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) December 2, 2020
It’s the protection of vaccines that will ultimately allow us to reclaim our lives and get the economy moving again. (2/2)
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) December 2, 2020
Words: Anuj Datta | Subbing: Monika Laimaite