The UK has just approved the Covid-19 Pfizer vaccine—and it will be made available across the country in a matter of days.
News of a vaccine has given many people hope over the last few weeks, and just this morning (December 2), the Pfizer/BioNTech jab has been given the green light by the health regulation authority. It is believed that the UK is the first in the world to have a clinically approved vaccine ready for supply. In other words, it will be the first time anyone outside of trials will be immunised.
The UK has secured 40 million doses of the vaccine so far, which is enough to vaccinate 20 million people. Delivery of these doses will start right away, with 10m set to arrive before 2020 is up. Of course, high-risk groups will take priority when rolling out the jab, such as care home staff and their residents, the over 80s, and National Health Service staff. A full priority list is set to be published later today, according to reports.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced the news in a tweet this morning, stating: “Help is on its way.
“The MHRA has formally authorised the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for Covid-19.
“The NHS stands ready to start vaccinating early next week.
“The UK is the first country in the world to have a clinically approved vaccine for supply.”
The Pfizer vaccine, which has proven to have a 95% rate of effectiveness, needs to be stored at incredibly low temperatures—below -70°C, in fact—which will prove to be a challenge. However, according to The Guardian, Pfizer and BioNTech say that it can be stored for up to five days in a standard fridge (so between 2 and 8°C). The vaccine has not yet been approved in the Netherlands but Pfizer is currently seeking vaccine approval from the EU.