UK Approves Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for Widespread Use Next Week

People in high priority groups may get the vaccine within days.
Fabienne Lang

The U.K. has become the first country to approve Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for widespread use, with jabs safe to begin as early as next week.

The nation has already ordered 40 million doses, which would be enough to inoculate 20 million people, with two jabs each, reports the BBC

People in the high-risk group could be inoculated within days.


The vaccine has been approved for emergency use by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA), which was given power to approve the vaccine by the government within special parameters before January 1, says the Guardian.

Ten million doses will arrive in the U.K. soon, and "The NHS stands ready to start vaccinating early next week" wrote Matt Hancock, Health Secretary, in a Twitter post.

Hancock confirmed that this decision makes "the U.K. the first country in the world to have a clinically approved vaccine for supply." 

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine had a 95% efficiency rate during final clinical trials, and has become the fastest vaccine to go from concept to reality, while still following all the developmental steps — it took just 10 months. This process usually lasts a decade, reports the BBC.

The vaccine will first be administered to people in a top priority list. This includes care home residents and workers, people aged over 80, as well as other health and social care workers.

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People in lower risk categories, such as over 50 years old, as well as younger people with pre-existing medical conditions will be the next in line with mass immunisations happening in early 2021.

Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine is given in two doses, 21 days apart.

The Guardian states that the U.S. has ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine, and Europe has bought 200 million, these are expected to win approval in the coming weeks.

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