Mass vaccination drive would likely to begin from the next week in United Kingdom as the government has given final approval to Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19.
The UK will be the first country in the world to approve the vaccine against COVID-19 after “rigorous” analysis by its independent regulator.
The British regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), says the vaccine, which claims to offer up to 95 per cent protection against Covid-19 illness, is safe for roll out.
The UK government said the approval follows a “rigorous” analysis of the data, conducted at a faster pace but without any compromise on standards.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed the “fantastic” news and confirmed that the vaccine will begin to be made available from next week.
“It’s the protection of vaccines that will ultimately allow us to reclaim our lives and get the economy moving again,” Johnson, a COVID-19 survivor was quoted saying by PTI report.
The vaccines require two doses 21 days apart, with strong immunity response kicking in after seven days of the second dose. The MHRA said it will continue to monitor the data on a rolling basis once the vaccines are deployed among the British public.
“I am thrilled. Help is on its way… we can see the dawn. Let’s redouble our efforts to follow the lockdown rules,” UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock was quoted saying by PTI report.
“It’s been a very tough 2020 but 2021 will be brighter,” he said.
The UK government has formally accepted the recommendation from the MHRA, which means the two-dose vaccine can be injected into arms of high-risk categories within days. Around 10 million doses should be available soon, with the first 800,000 arriving in the UK in the coming days.
“The vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week. The NHS [National Health Service] has decades of experience in delivering large scale vaccination programmes and will begin putting their extensive preparations into action to provide care and support to all those eligible for vaccination,” said a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
“This follows months of rigorous clinical trials and a thorough analysis of the data by experts at the MHRA who have concluded that the vaccine has met its strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness,” the spokesperson said.