The U.K. is set to approve the BioNTech SE and Pfizer Inc. COVID-19 vaccine next week, reported the Financial Times on Saturday citing unnamed sources.
The report also noted that deliveries of the vaccine would begin within hours of its approval.
UK will be the first to clear the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine
The vaccine in question has been found to be 95% effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19. The U.K. has now ordered 40 million doses and plans to perform the first immunizations as early as December 7.
The country has also acquired 100 million doses of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University and has asked its medical regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), on Friday to assess the vaccine for a possible rollout.
Nadhim Zahawi, currently a junior business minister, will be responsible for the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines in the country. This decision was made early Saturday and announced by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Pfizer and BioNTech just recently made an announcement that their vaccine is 95% effective following the U.S. company Moderna's announcement that its vaccine (which is also an mRNA vaccine, which hasn't been used on people before) is 95% effective.
No serious side-effects
Pfizer and BioNTech also reported that their vaccine had no serious side-effects. The only noteworthy side effects according to their data were headaches and fatigue, which only about 2% of participants reported.
There were also some concerns that the vaccine would not be as effective for the elderly. However, the companies reported that that's not the case as "the observed efficacy in adults over 65 years of age was over 94%." The Pfizer and BioNTech trials saw 42% of all participants come from diverse ethnic backgrounds and 41% aged between 56 and 85.
The companies had also announced that they're expecting to produce 50 million doses of the vaccine by the end of this year and up to 1.3 billion by the end of 2021. Each person requires two doses of the vaccine to be treated.