The United Kingdom (UK) has licensed the COVID-19 vaccine developed by American Pharmaceutical company, Pfizer/BioNTech, making it available for mass immunization with effect from next week, especially for those most at risk. This makes the UK the first western country to approve the administration of the vaccine against the pandemic. The vaccine has been authorized for emergency use by the UK's Medicines and Health products Regulatory Authority (MHRA). "The government has today accepted the recommendation from the MHRA to approve Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for use," a Health official said.
"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 official added.
According to The Guardian, the UK has purchased 40 million doses of the vaccine, with 800,000 doses available for next week's rollout.
Speaking, the health secretary, Matt Hancock said, "This is fantastic news. The MHRA, the fiercely independent regulator, has clinically authorised the vaccine for rollout. The NHS stands ready to make that happen."
"From early next week we will start the programme of vaccinating people against Covid-19 here in this country. The MHRA have approved it as clinically safe and we have a vaccine, so it’s very good news."
Meanwhile, the UK says it hopes to immunize 100 million people, approximately 40 percent of the country's adult population by end of February 2021.