Britain on Wednesday became the first country to approve Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for general use and said it would be introduced next week.
“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 department of health said in a statement.
“The vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week,” the statement said, with priority groups including care home residents, health and care staff.
To this end, Pfizer said Britain’s emergency use authorisation marks a historic moment in the fight against COVID-19.
“This authorisation 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 CEO Albert Bourla.
“As we anticipate further authorisations and approvals, we are focussed on moving with the same level of urgency to safely supply a high-quality vaccine around the world.”
Britain will start vaccinating people against COVID-19 with the Pfizer vaccine next week.
“From early next week we will start a programme of vaccinating people against COVID-19 here in this country,” health minister Matt Hancock told Sky News, calling it “fantastic news”.