The new coronavirus vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech has won emergency approval from the MHRA, Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, and will be rolled out to the public starting next week, according to the BBC.
This marks the first authorization of a vaccine to help fight the pandemic following a worldwide trial.
— Pfizer Inc. (@pfizer) December 2, 2020
The UK is the first country in the world to have a clinically approved vaccine for supply, noted Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, and MP for West Suffolk.
Forty million doses have already been ordered – enough to vaccinate 20 million people in the United Kingdom – and of those, some 10 million doses should be available “soon,” the BBC reported.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted, “It’s fantastic that MHRA has formally authorized the Pfizer BioNTech Group vaccine for COVID-19. The vaccine will begin to be made available across the UK from next week.
“It’s the protection of vaccines that will ultimately allow us to reclaim our lives and get the economy moving again,” Johnson added.
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
“The Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) will shortly publish its final advice for the priority groups to receive the vaccine, including care home residents, health and care staff, the elderly and the clinically extremely vulnerable,” a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said in a statement.
“To aid the success of the vaccination program 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.”
The first 800,000 doses are expected to arrive in the coming days. Some 50 hospitals are already on standby and vaccination centers are being set up around the country.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock told BBC Breakfast that citizens will be contacted by the NHS when it’s their turn to be immunized.
NHS Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens said the health service is preparing for “the largest scale vaccination campaign in our country’s history.”