Incredible news from the UK folks; the Pfizer-BioNTech collab COVID-19 vaccine has sought the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approval and will be available for the public soon. Just as we are hearing about many ambitious companies like Moderna applying for emergency authorization of their COVID-19 vaccine, an actual approval has breathed a new life among many.
The vaccine will be available in the UK from next week. It is especially great news for the UK as the country is ranked at 7th (as of today) for having the most cases of the coronavirus by the World Health Organization.
In a time when the second wave of the life-threatening virus is surging rapidly, the news has given a ray of hope to the majority of the healthcare workers and researchers.
The government statement, Reuters reported:
“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 vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week,”
The two companies came together to collaborate their efforts for the development of a sound vaccine to counter coronavirus in April this year. One of the immediate aims of this collaboration, right after the development of the vaccine, was to scale up its production and make it available for use globally.
Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer, stated, The Guardian quotes:
“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 UK,”
“As we anticipate further authorisations and approvals, we are focused on moving with the same level of urgency to safely supply a high-quality vaccine around the world.”
While many of us are contemplating as to who would have access to the vaccine first, the government is all set to decide which fraction of the population will have access to the vaccine in its initial stages. The distribution of the vaccine will be on a priority basis. According to this, the priority will be given to the healthcare workers and the most vulnerable of the people; the elderly and immune-compromised patients.
The hospitals are prepared to launch the vaccine distribution program as per the tweet by the UK health secretary, Matt Hancock:
The armed forces, along with the NHS, have already made necessary preparations for the proper distribution of the vaccine.
On the distribution of the vaccine, the NHS chief executive, Sir Simon Stevens, said:
“The NHS has a proven track record of delivering large scale vaccinations from the winter flu jab to BCG and, once the final hurdles are cleared and the vaccine arrives in England’s hospitals, health service staff will begin offering people this ground-breaking jab in a programme that will expand to cover the whole country in the coming months.”
Oksana Pyzik, a teaching fellow at the UCL School of Pharmacy, told Al Jazeera,
“We know that Pfizer can have only 1.3 billion doses by the end of next year. That is definitely not going to vaccinate the world, but we are going to take this first crucial step which is exciting.”
Since the vaccine ought to be stored at extremely cold temperatures, its distribution can be a crucial task outside hospitals.