UK First Country To Approve Pfizer/BioNTech Covid Vaccine
The UK is the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine for mass rollout.
Regulator MHRA says it is safe and will provide up to 95 percent protection against Covid-19, with immunisation potentially starting in days for those classed as high priority.
The government has already ordered doses to vaccinate 20m people - with each person needing two jabs each.
The first 800,000 doses are set to arrive in the next few days.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC: "From next week, we'll be able to start rolling this out.
"We'll start with those who are most vulnerable to coronavirus.
"Once we've protected the most vulnerable it will help us all get back to normal and back to all the things that we love."
It's the fastest vaccine to be developed ever - taking just 10 months to go from inception to being regulated.
In a statement, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: "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.
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"This follows months of rigorous clinical trials and a thorough analysis of the data by experts at the MHRA who have concluded that the vaccine has met its strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.
"The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) will 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.
"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.
"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.
"Further details will be set out shortly."
The vaccine needs to be kept at -70C, but it can be stored for up to five days in a fridge, at 2-8°C.
Priority will be given to care home residents, who might not be able to go to a centre to get the jab, and then the staff who look after them.
It will then be given to the over-80s and then NHS staff.
The trial showed that the vaccine is equally as effective in younger people as those over 65 - who are most at risk. There was no difference found between volunteers of different gender, race or ethnicity.
Featured Image Credit: PA
Topics: UK News
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