Covid-19:UK becomes first country to approve Pfizer vaccine.

The vaccine has been rolled out at extraordinary speed, from conception to approval in around 11 months, according to BioNTech. The process usually takes years.

The United Kingdom has become the first Western nation to approve a Covid-19 vaccine, a landmark moment in the coronavirus pandemic that paves the way for the first doses to be rolled out across the country next week.

“Help is on the way,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced Wednesday morning, after UK regulators granted emergency authorization for a vaccine made by US pharma giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.

A final analysis of the Phase 3 trial of the vaccine shows it was 95% effective in preventing infections, even in older adults, and caused no serious safety concerns, Pfizer said last month.

Large vaccination centres, in venues such as conference centres, are being set up to rollout the mass immunization program, while around 50 hospitals are also ready to administer the jab, U.K. health secretary Matt Hancock said. The vaccine would also be available from some GPs and pharmacies if they have cold storage facilities.

He added that the rollout would be “challenging” because the shot requires a storage temperature of minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit.

The U.K. has already secured 40 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which was shown to have an efficacy rate of 95% in people over 65 years in a Phase 3 trial with no major safety concerns.

Around 10 million doses will be available soon, with the first 800,000 – enough to vaccinate 400,000 people – arriving in the country in the coming days.


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