The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) has approved a new vaccine against the coronavirus.
Mass immunisation will begin next week in those most at risk of contracting the virus. The government of the UK gave the MHRA the power to approve a Covid vaccine before the 1st of January and to become liable for medicines authorisation post-Brexit.
In its final trials, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine appeared to be 95 per cent efficacious.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “The government has today accepted the recommendation from the MHRA to approve Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for use.
“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 joint committee on vaccination and immunisation will shortly also publish its latest advice for the priority groups to receive the vaccine, including care home residents, health and care staff, the elderly and the clinically extremely vulnerable. The vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week.”
The government has already acquired 40m doses of the vaccine following the MHRA`s emergency use authorisation.
Care home residents and staff will be prioritised for vaccination as they may not have quick access to a vaccine centre, then those above the age of 80 and NHS staff will follow.
Matt Hancock, the health secretary said this year 10m doses of the vaccine can be expected.
Pfizer and BioNTech say delivery throughout 2020 and 2021 will continue in stages “to ensure an equitable allocation of vaccines across the geographies with executed contracts,”
The companies also say their combined manufacturing network could supply globally up to 50m vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3bn doses by the end of 2021.