The UK on Wednesday has approved the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for public use. It is the first country to gives its nod to the mass use of the vaccine.
In November, Pfizer announced that it had developed a vaccine that could offer 95 percent protection against COVID-19. “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 in a statement. “The vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week,” the statement said. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the programme would begin early next week.
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.