UK becomes first country to approve Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, first shots roll out next week



United Kingdom on Wednesday became the first country to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 after “rigorous” analysis by its independent regulator.

The British regulator, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) claims to offer up to 95 per cent protection against COVID-19.

The UK government said the approval follows a “rigorous” analysis of the data, conducted at a faster pace but with no compromise on standards.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed the fantastic news and confirmed that the vaccine will be made available 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, a COVID-19 survivor, said.

The vaccines require two doses 21 days apart, with strong immunity response kicking in after seven days of the second dose.

The MHRA said it will continue to monitor the data on a rolling basis once the vaccines are deployed among the British public.

I am thrilled. Help is on its way, we can see the dawn. Let’s redouble our efforts to follow the lockdown rules, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock, said.

It’s been a very tough 2020, but 2021 will be brighter, he added.

The UK government has formally accepted the recommendation from the MHRA, which means the two-dose vaccine can be injected into arms of high-risk categories within days.

Around 10 million doses should be available soon, with the first 800,000 arriving in the UK in the coming days.

The vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week. (PTI)