UK approves use of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine – rollout to begin next week
Written by Gavin on 2nd December 2020
The UK has become the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use.
It has been given the go-ahead by the health regulator MHRA and will become available from next week.
Studies have shown the jab is 95% effective and works in all age groups.
The government has secured 40 million doses of the vaccine and patients need two doses, meaning not enough shots have been secured for the entire UK population.
“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.”
Royal Liverpool University Hospital trust is one of the sites that will be rolling out the vaccine.
The Department of Health and Social Care spokesman added: “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.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said “this is fantastic news”.
“Help is on the way. The MHRA has formally authorised the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19. The NHS stands ready to start vaccinating early next week,” he said in a tweet.
“The UK is the first country in the world to have a clinically approved vaccine for supply.”
Mr Hancock also told Sky News there would be “three modes of delivery” of the vaccine.
“The first is hospitals themselves, which of course we’ve got facilities like this,” he said.
“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.
“Also vaccination centres, which will be big centres where people can go to get vaccinated. They are being set up now.”
An effective vaccine is seen as the main weapon in fighting the pandemic, which has claimed more than 1.4 million lives worldwide.
Pfizer and BioNTech reported final trial results on 18 November that showed its vaccine was 95% effective in preventing COVID-19, with no major safety concerns.