UK approves Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine with rollout from next week
Britain has become the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for use, with doses to be rolled out from early next week.
The UK has bought 40m doses of the vaccine, which has proven to be 95% effective in recent trials. Care homes residents and their carers have been earmarked as the first priority groups for vaccination.
The treatment has been authorised for emergency use by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA), ahead of decisions by the US and Europe. Pfizer said the first doses of the vaccine will arrive in the coming days.
"The vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week. 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," said the Department of Health in a statement.
"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."
“The joint committee on vaccination and immunisation will shortly also publish its latest advice for the priority groups to receive the vaccine, including care home residents, health and care staff, the elderly and the clinically extremely vulnerable."
Pfizer chief executive Albert Bourla said: “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.”
“As we anticipate further authorizations and approvals, we are focused on moving with the same level of urgency to safely supply a high-quality vaccine around the world.”