The UK could soon see the first Covid-19 vaccines rolled out to priority groups after the Government accepted a recommendation from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve the Pfizer vaccine candidate for use.
Months of rigorous clinical trials were carried out as standard by the vaccine manufacturers, with a thorough analysis of the data being undertaken by experts at the MHRA to ensure it met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness before it could be approved.
The UK becomes the first country in the world to approve the use of this particular vaccine, which had proven around 90% effective against the virus, according to preliminary data.
It will now be able to be administered to the first people in the UK, who are expected to be a number of priority groups including care home residents, health and care staff, the elderly and the clinically extremely vulnerable.
The UK has already secured 40 million doses of the vaccine – enough to vaccinate approximately 20 million people – with around 10 million doses due to be available soon. The first 800,000 doses are due to arrive in the coming days.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “The Government has today accepted the recommendation from the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for use.
““The Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) will shortly publish its final advice for the priority groups to receive the vaccine.
“The vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week.
“The NHS has decades of experience in delivering large scale vaccination programmes and will begin putting their extensive preparations into action to provide care and support to all those eligible for vaccination.
“To aid the success of the vaccination programme it is vital everyone continues to play their part and abide by the necessary restrictions in their area so we can further suppress the virus and allow the NHS to do its work without being overwhelmed.”