The U.K has become the first country to begin rolling out Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.
The vaccine will be rolled out across the country as soon as next week. Elderly patients in residential homes and medical workers will be first in line to receive the vaccination.
“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 U.K. government said in a statement on Wednesday.
The United States’ Food and Drug Administration is currently reviewing the vaccine for emergency use. President Donald Trump has openly stated that the vaccine should be ready sometime in December.
Pfizer chiefs are pleased with the U.K’s willingness to move forward.
“This authorization is a goal we have been working toward since we first declared that science will win, and we applaud the MHRA for their ability to conduct a careful assessment and take timely action to help protect the people of the U.K.,” said Pfizer’s Chairman and CEO, Dr. Albert Bourla.
“With thousands of people becoming infected, every day matters in the collective race to end this devastating pandemic.”
The MHRA, Britain’s medicines regulator, says the vaccine offers up to 95% protection against Covid-19 illness and is safe to be rolled out.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the NHS would reach out to people about jabs. He is optimistic about the future following the distribution of the vaccination.
“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,” he said.
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.”