DORAL, FL – UK approves a COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday and could be dispensing shots in the following days, as reported by AP.
The vaccine in question is the one developed by American drugmaker Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech that on November announced has an effectiveness of over 90%.
“This is a day to remember, frankly, in a year to forget,” British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, as reported by the Associated Press.
Initially, UK approves a COVID-19 vaccine intended only for emergency use, which many people considers to be a wise decision given the fact that winter is making the pandemic surge to high levels again. As of today, it has killed more than 1.4 million people around the globe.
But as it was said before with other potential vaccines, the first shots are only for the most vulnerable parts of the population, such as nursing homes patients, the elderly and first responders.
In the following days, the country will begin receiving the first shipment of 800,000 doses from Belgium and it is expected that those who are in the list of beneficiaries start getting the shots as soon as they arrive. Two doses three weeks apart are required.
BioNTech, which owns the vaccine, said it has so far signed deals to supply 570 million doses worldwide in 2021, with options to deliver 600 million more. It hopes to supply at least 1.3 billion in 2021.
Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency was the one responsible for giving the green light to the vaccine after clinical trials involving tens of thousands of volunteers showed it was 95% effective and it didn’t revealed serious side effects.
Regardless of this, the vaccine is still considered experimental while final testing is done. “This is an unprecedented piece of science,” said David Harper, senior consulting fellow in global health at the Chatham House think tank, to the AP referring to the fact that the vaccine was developed less than a year after the virus was first discovered.
Meanwhile, in the United States the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said it’s not considering a vaccine to be released internally earlier than December 10, although this step given by UK may give a sense of relief to this country.
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Britain’s decision “should give Americans additional confidence in the quality of such a vaccine.”