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UK becomes the first nation to approve a COVID-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech
The UK has ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine
Pfizer had claimed that the final analysis of the Phase 3 trial of the vaccine shows it was 95% effective in preventing infections, even in older adults
The United Kingdom (UK) has become the first nation to approve a coronavirus vaccine after the regulators granted emergency authorization for a vaccine made by US pharma giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, according to a new report.
It is described as a huge milestone moment in the eradication COVID-19 pandemic. The approval paves the way for the first doses to be rolled out across the country next week.
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The approval implies that the UK has leaped past the United States (US) and European Union (EU) in the race to approve a vaccine for the pandemic that has killed almost 1.5 million people globally since it first broke out in December 2019.
The US pharma company, Pfizer had claimed last month that the final analysis of the Phase 3 trial of the vaccine shows it was 95% effective in preventing infections, even in older adults, and caused no serious safety concerns. The vaccine has been obtained at astonishing and unusual speed, from conception to trials to approval in just about 10 months, according to BioNTech – a process that usually takes years.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock told BBC that an initial 800,000 doses would be delivered from Pfizer’s facilities in Belgium to the UK next week, and “many millions” more before the end of the year after the UK has ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine, enough to vaccinate 20 million people.
The UK Department of Health said that the approval followed months of rigorous clinical trials and a thorough analysis of the data by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), concluding that the vaccine has met its strict standards of safety, quality, and effectiveness.
MHRA Chief Dr. June Raine insisted that “no corners have been cut” and the clinical trials were “overlapping” to progress the process faster. Dr. June Raine also said that separate teams have been working in parallel to deliver the update.
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