UK Approves Pfizer/BioNTech Coronavirus Vaccine
Britain is the first country in the world to get the new coronavirus vaccine.
The U.K.’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has approved Pfizer/BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine, the BBC reported Wednesday. Starting next week, the first 800,000 doses will be available free of charge.
The U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) will contact those who will be given the vaccine first. The elderly in nursing homes and their staff will be given priority. Next in line will be those over 80 years of age and other health care staff.
The U.K. has ordered enough doses — 40 million — to treat 20 million people.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that, while 2020 has been “just awful,” 2021 will be better. “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.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, “It’s the protection of vaccines that will ultimately allow us to reclaim our lives and get the economy moving again.”
Those in the U.K. can obtain the vaccine from hospitals, vaccination centers, general practitioners and pharmacists. The vaccinations will not be compulsory.
The vaccine, made in Belgium, was 95% effective in trials.