UK becomes first country to approve Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine
The UK has become the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, paving the way for mass vaccination.
The MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency) says the jab, which offers up to 95% protection against coronavirus, is safe to be rolled out.
The first doses – which must be stored at -70C – are already on their way to the UK and will be available next week.
Older people in care homes and care home staff have been placed at the top of the priority list, followed by over-80s and health and care staff. People will be contacted directly about getting the Jabs.
The UK has ordered 40m doses of the jab which is enough to vaccinate 20m people. The NHS can now begin to roll out the vaccine to those groups that the JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) has decided need it most when the supplies are available.
It could take up to a week for supplies to be shipped into the country, inspected by Public Health England and distributed. NHS England are standing up three different delivery methods so that it can cope with any type of vaccine:
Hospital hubs – where it knows the Pfizer vaccine can be stored safely
Local vaccine services – provided by GPs and pharmacies
Vaccination centres – large sites convenient for transport networks