The UK has become the first country to approve Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for widespread use.
Britain’s medicines regulator, the MHRA, says the jab, which offers up to 95% protection against Covid-19 illness, is safe to be rolled out.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that the first 800,000 doses will be available in the UK from next week. He added that people wait to be contacted by the NHS.
As per the initial details, the vaccine will be given to elderly people, those in care homes, and some NHS staff first. More details on the priority list are due to appear later.
The UK has already ordered around 40 million doses, enough for 20m people with two shots per patient.
Pfizer/BioNTech jab is the fastest vaccine to work effectively, taking 10 months to perform steps that normally take 10 years to complete.
Mr. Hancock said that the doses will be rolled out as quickly as the company in Belgium can make it, with the first load next week and then “several million” throughout December.
But the bulk of the rollout will be next year, he added. “2020 has been just awful and 2021 is going to be better,” said Mr. Hancock.
“I’m confident now, with the news today, that from spring, from Easter onwards, things are going to be better. And we’re going to have a summer next year that everybody can enjoy.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson added: “It’s the protection of vaccines that will ultimately allow us to reclaim our lives and get the economy moving again.”
How will people be vaccinated in the UK?
As per the details, people in the UK will be vaccinated in three ways:
- Vaccination centers “a bit like the Nightingales project and including some of the Nightingales”, said Mr. Hancock
- In the community, with GPs and pharmacists.