Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine approved for use next week in UK

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Daily US Times: The United Kingdom has become the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, paving the way for mass vaccination.

The MHRA, Britain’s medicines regulator, says the jab, which offers up to 95% protection against Covid-19, is safe to be rolled out.

Matt Hancock, the UK Health Secretary, said the first 800,000 doses will be available in the country from next week.

People should wait to be contacted by the National Helath Services (NHS), he added.

Elderly people in care homes and care home staff are top of the priority list to get the vaccine, followed by over-80s and health and care staff.

But because of the limited stocks and need to store the vaccine at -70C, the very first doses are likely to take place at hospitals so care home residents may not be immunised until later.

The Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine is the fastest vaccine to go from concept to reality, taking only 10 months to follow the same steps that normally take 10 years or more.

The United Kingdom has already ordered 40 million doses of the free doses – enough to cover 20 million people.

Mr Hancock said, the vaccinations will be rolled out as quickly as they can be made by Pfizer in Belgium, with the first doses load next week and then “several millions” in the whole month of December.

But the bulk of the rollout will be next year, he added.

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