The United Kingdom became the first country in the world on Wednesday to approve the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine with the vaccine expecting to be rolled for use from next week.
According to British newspaper Guardian, the vaccine has been approved for emergency use by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA).
The publication reported that the first dose of the vaccine may arrive in the United Kingdom in the coming days. It added that the Boris Johnson led government has brought 40 million doses of the vaccine, which has 95% efficacy in its final trials.
“Today’s emergency use authorisation in the UK marks a historic moment in the fight against COVID-19. This authorisation is a goal we have been working toward since we first declared that science will win, and we applaud the MHRA for their ability to conduct a careful assessment and take timely action to help protect the people of the UK,” CEO of Pfizer Albert Bourla was quoted by Guardian.
“As we anticipate further authorisations and approvals, we are focused on moving with the same level of urgency to safely supply a high-quality vaccine around the world. With thousands of people becoming infected, every day matters in the collective race to end this devastating pandemic.”
According to the BBC, Pfizer-BioNTech was among a group of companies that had managed to develop a vaccine from concept to reality. The process to develop it took only 10 months.
The channel reported that the group that is most likely too receive the vaccine first are people at highest risk.
The BBC said that a provisional priority list drawn up by experts had identified care home residents and staff, followed by people over 80 and other health and social care workers as top priority.
The channel reported that the these groups may receive the first stocks of the vaccine before Christmas.
The vaccine has to be administered in two injections, 21 days apart, with the second dose being a booster.
Pfizer coronavirus vaccine over 90% effective, says manufacturer
Last month, large-scale trials of a coronavirus vaccine candidate produced by Pfizer/BioNTech revealed that it is 90% effective, said the manufacturer in a statement.
The study showed that people who received two doses as part of the trial saw 90% fewer symptomatic cases of COVID-19 than participants who were given a placebo.
“Today is a great day for science and humanity. The first set of results from our phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial provides the initial evidence of our vaccine’s ability to prevent COVID-19,” said Dr Albert Bourla, the Pfizer chairman and chief executive.
The study focused on 94 participants out of a total number of 43,000 people. These participants were offered the two-dose vaccine and 28 days after they received their first inoculation, remained protected.
“To me, this is the best possible outcome,” Ugur Sahin, co-founder and chief executive of BioNTech told the Financial Times.
Pfizer expects to produce 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses by 2021.
The company referred to the development as a “critical milestone in our vaccine development” adding that the welcome news came at a time when hospitals were being filled to their maximum capacity and economies were struggling to remain open.
Pfizer said that the vaccine’s Phase 3 trial began this year on July 27 and has involved 43,538 participants in total out of which 38,955 have received a second dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of November 8, 2020.