The UK on Wednesday, 2 December, became the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for use and said that it will be rolled out from next week, NBC News reports.
“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 vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week, the government said in a statement.
”The programme would begin early next week, it is very good news, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.
The UK’s vaccine committee will decide which priority groups will get the jab first such as care home residents, health and care staff, the elderly and people who are clinically extremely vulnerable.
The UK marks Europe’s deadliest outbreak of the virus, with more than 1.6 million cases of the novel coronavirus having been recorded since the pandemic began in late 2019. More than 59,000 people have died with the virus according to official figures.
US based Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, and US biotech firm Moderna, have reported preliminary findings of more than 90 percent effectiveness, an unexpectedly high rate in trials of their vaccines which are both based on new messenger RNA (mRNA) technology.
Pfizer said the UK’s emergency use authorisation marks, an historic moment in the fight against COVID-19.
“This authorisation 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 UK, said CEO Albert Bourla.
The Pfizer shots must be stored at minus 94 degrees fahrenheit, far colder than standard cooling systems. To help accommodate the extra refrigeration requirement, Pfizer has developed a supercool storage unit packed with dry ice.