The government has ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine that is expected to be rolled out across the country next week.
After months of uncertainty and panic caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the world is finally moving toward days of hope. According to CNN, the United Kingdom became the first country in the West to authorize a coronavirus vaccine on 2 December 2020.
After granting an emergency authorization for the vaccine developed by the US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, the health secretary Matt Hancock said, "Help is on the way."
The UK is the first country in the world to approve Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine, and plans to begin distributing it next week https://t.co/TBpHjIxhLt— CNN (@CNN) December 3, 2020
Last month, the developers of the vaccine claimed that it is 95% effective in preventing infections in everyone including the elderly. It also stated that the vaccine posed no safety concerns.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed the news and stated, "We are no longer resting on the mere hope that we can return to normal next year in the spring, but rather on the sure and certain knowledge that we will succeed, and together reclaim our lives."
“Help is on the way,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced Wednesday morning, after UK regulators granted emergency authorization for a vaccine made by US pharma giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.https://t.co/bS1ky1NPQp— Unikorn (@UnikornMedia) December 2, 2020
Appearing at a news conference, MHRA chief Dr. June Raine assured the public about the safety, quality, and effectiveness of the vaccine. She said, "no corners have been cut."
The government has ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine that will be sufficient to vaccinate 20 million people. It is expected to be rolled out across the country next week. The vaccines will be distributed in phases based on a priority list set by the authorities. Senior citizens, health workers, and vulnerable people are on top of the priority list.
Because the US government regulations slow it down but we paid for it that's why it's here so fast— fair&accountable 💪 (@BeAccountable4u) December 2, 2020
UK becomes first country to approve Pfizer/BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine, first shots roll out next week https://t.co/Iwms2otyMj
At the start of next week, around 50 "hospital hubs" will start offering the vaccines to those above 80 and care home workers. Next, these vaccines will be distributed through doctors' offices. They will ensure the vaccination of other vulnerable patients.
As more doses become available in January, large vaccination centers and local pharmacists would be able to access it.
Speaking in a press conference alongside the Prime Minister, the head of the National Health Service in England, Simon Stevens noted that the vaccine has to be given in two doses, 21 days apart. He stated that second doses were supposed to be reserved for those taking their first shots in December.
BREAKING: Pfizer-BioNTech say U.K. allows emergency use of their COVID-19 vaccine, the world’s first backed by rigorous science. https://t.co/ZP3PrVfwtG— The Associated Press (@AP) December 2, 2020
Meanwhile, Stevens urged people to continue following social distancing and other necessary precautions. The Prime Minister also warned the public against taking the pandemic lightly despite the availability of the vaccine. He told the public not to be "carried away with over-optimism or falling into the naive belief that our struggle is over."
England just resumed back to normalcy after a month-long lockdown.
Meanwhile, BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin hailed the news as the "start of the end of the pandemic." Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla applauded the UK government and called the decision "a historic moment in the fight against Covid-19."
The authorization of the vaccine is a relief to the government as it was widely criticized for its failure to control the death toll of almost 60,000, the highest in Europe.