The British government on Wednesday became the first Western nation to approve a vaccine for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), selecting the one developed by Pfizer and BioNTech that’s shown to be better than 90-percent effective.
London’s health ministry announced it has accepted a recommendation from the independent Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to give emergency approval for the vaccine, which officials said will be made available next week.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was approved after late-stage clinical data showed it is 95-percent effective in protecting people over 65 years old from Covid-19. No serious safety concerns were found among clinical volunteers.
The United States Food and Drug Administration advisory panel will meet next week to make a recommendation for the vaccine about emergency use in the US.
The British government said in October it’s secured 40 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine to be distributed in stages, “to ensure an equitable allocation of vaccines across the geographies with executed contracts.”
An official committee will soon make final recommendations for which people in Britain will receive priority for the vaccine. It’s expected that long-term care home residents, health workers, the elderly and the clinically vulnerable will be first to receive it. SOVEREIGNPH