The UK has become the first country in the world to give approval for the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. The UK’s medical regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), has announced the jab, which offers up to 95% protection against COVID-19 illness, is safe and will be rolled out next week from its manufacturing locations in Belgium.
Medical staff have suggested that Immunisations could start within days for priority patients, such as older people in care homes. The UK government has ordered 40m doses – enough to vaccinate 20m people. It is thought that some 10m doses will be quickly available as 800,000 doses are expected in the coming days.
It is the fastest ever vaccine to go from concept to reality, taking only 10 months to follow the same developmental steps that normally span a decade.