Guwahati: The United Kingdom has paved the way for mass vaccination to start as it became the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use.
The vaccine has been given the go-ahead by the health regulator Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and will be rolled out from early next week.
The MHRA was given power to approve the vaccine by the government under the special regulations before January 1, when it will be become fully responsible for medicines authorisation in the UK after Brexit.
The vaccine has been authorised for emergency use by the MHRA, ahead of decisions by the United States and Europe.
United Kingdom has ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine, which has been shown to have 95% efficacy in its final trial. Around 10 million doses will be available for the use in the UK shortly for priority groups, including healthcare workers.
However, a list of who will receive the vaccine first will be set out later on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson took Twitter to announce the development. He wrote: “It’s fantastic that @MHRAgovuk has formally authorised the @Pfizer/ @BioNTech_Group vaccine for Covid-19. The vaccine will begin to be made available across the UK from next week.”
In another tweet he mentioned, “It’s the protection of vaccines that will ultimately allow us to reclaim our lives and get the economy moving again.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that the programme would begin early next week. Hospitals, he said, were already ready to receive it.
“Help is on its way. The MHRA has formally authorised the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for Covid-19. The NHS stands ready to start vaccinating early next week. The UK is the first country in the world to have a clinically approved vaccine for supply,” Hancock wrote in Twitter.
Work has been going on behind the scenes to ensure that NHS staff are ready to start delivering jabs to the most vulnerable, as well as health and care workers, as a priority.
The vaccine has been tested on 43,500 people in six countries, and has been shown to prevent 95% of people from getting Covid-19, including 94% in older age groups.
Based on current information, the vaccines being developed require two doses per patient, with 21 to 28 day gap between doses.