The United Kingdom has become the first western country to authorize a COVID-19 vaccine, giving the much-needed hope amid the gloom of the coronavirus pandemic.
Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on Wednesday granted emergency authorization for a COVID-19 vaccine developed by US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.
According to the data published by Pfizer from its phase 3 trial of the vaccine, the vaccine is 95% effective in preventing infections and caused no serious safety concerns.
“We believe it is really the start of the end of the pandemic,” said BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin.
Likewise, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla noted the emergency vaccine authorization as “a historic moment in the fight against Covid-19.”
“This authorization is a goal we have been working toward since we first declared that science would 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,” he added.
Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson informed that the vaccine would be made available across the UK from next week.
According to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, the UK Government has ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine, sufficient to vaccinate 20 million people. Pfizer’s facilities in Belgium would initially deliver 800,000 doses to the UK next week.
UK’s Priority List for COVID-19 Vaccination:
With the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine approval, the UK outpaced the United States and the European Union in the race to approve a vaccine for the virus that has killed almost 1.5 million people worldwide.
China and Russia stood ahead of the UK in the vaccine approval. China has granted emergency approval for three experimental vaccines and has vaccinated around 1 million people since July. Russia has approved its Sputnik V shot in August and has been inoculating frontline workers since then.
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