A Pfizer / BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine has been approved by the Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for use in the UK. This means that mass vaccination can begin in just a few days.
Officials said the vaccine will be made available "starting next week" when Health Secretary Matt Hancock said "help is on the way".
A spokesman for the Department of Health and Welfare announced it just after 7 a.m. this morning as England exited its second national lockdown.
Mr. Hancock said, “Help is on the way. The MHRA has officially approved the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine for Covid-19.
& # 39; The NHS is ready to start vaccinating early next week.
"The UK is the first country in the world to have a clinically approved vaccine for supply."
Pfizer / BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine has been approved by the regulator
An employee in the Pfizer laboratories where he does research and development
Vials with the life-saving sting are seen when an employee is working on the Covid-19 vaccine
A spokesman for the DHSC added, "The government today accepted the recommendation from the Independent Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) to approve Pfizer / BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine.
& # 39; This follows months of rigorous clinical studies and a thorough analysis of the data by experts at MHRA who have concluded that the vaccine meets its strict safety, quality and efficacy standards.
& # 39; The Joint Vaccination and Immunization Committee (JCVI) will also shortly publish its latest recommendations for the priority groups to receive the vaccine, including nursing home residents, health and care workers, the elderly and the clinically extremely vulnerable .
"The vaccine will be available across the UK from next week."
A graphic of EU, US, Canada, UK, Japan, and Australia vaccine orders
A scientist in the Pfizer laboratory in New York is working on the new vaccine against the deadly virus
WHO WILL GET THE JAB, WHEN AND HOW?
What is in the making in the UK?
The government has received 40 million doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine, 10 million of which are due in the UK by the end of the year.
Patients require two doses, which means that not enough shots have been secured for the entire UK population.
How is a vaccine introduced?
Behind the scenes, work has been done to ensure that NHS staff are ready to deliver priority shocks to the most vulnerable, as well as to health and care workers.
The NHS Nightingale Hospitals are also intended as locations for mass vaccination clinics.
In addition, NHS officials have announced that "roving teams" will be deployed to vaccinate residents and workers in nursing homes.
According to current information, the vaccines under development require two doses per patient with an interval of 21 to 28 days between doses.
The government has also put in place new regulations that will allow more healthcare workers to administer flu and potential Covid-19 vaccines.
Who is at the top of the list to get a coronavirus vaccine?
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) has been looking into data on who has the worst effects of the coronavirus and who is at the highest risk of death.
The preliminary guide states that the order of priorities should be as follows:
- Older adults in a nursing home and nursing home workers
- Everyone aged 80 and over, as well as health and social workers
- Everyone aged 75 and over
- All persons over the age of 70 and persons at extreme clinical risk, with the exception of pregnant women and persons under 18 years of age
- Everyone aged 65 and over
- Adults aged 18 to 65 in a risk group
- Everyone aged 60 and over
- Everyone aged 55 and over
- Everyone aged 50 and over
Speaking to Sky News, Hancock added that there would be three ways the vaccine could be dispensed.
He explained, “The first is the hospitals themselves, and of course we have such facilities.
50 hospitals across the country are already set up and waiting to receive the vaccine once it's approved. It can be done now.
“Also vaccination centers, which will be big centers where people can get vaccinated. You will now be set up.
& # 39; There will also be a community rollout including general practitioners and pharmacists.
“Due to the storage conditions for this vaccine at -70 ° C, you can of course support this rollout wherever you have these facilities.
"But they will also be there when the AstraZeneca vaccine is approved, as it does not meet these cold storage requirements and is therefore easier to implement operationally."
He added, "We are the first country in the world where a clinically approved vaccine can be introduced."
A few days ago, hospitals in England were told to prepare for a Covid-19 vaccine to roll out in just 10 days. According to reports, the NHS staff were the number one priority to get him.
The first shipments of the vaccine developed by Pfizer / BioNTech should take place between December 7th and 9th.
This vaccine, which gave early results suggesting the shock is 95 percent effective, needs to be stored at extremely low temperatures.
A hospital executive was told to expect the vaccine to be delivered to NHS staff on December 7th the following week.
On November 20, the Minister of Health announced that he had formally asked the Medicines Agency to evaluate the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine for use in the UK.
Matt Hancock hailed it as "another major step forward in combating this pandemic".
But he said while regulator approval saw a rollout that could begin next month "there is still a long way to go".
And the MHRA confirmed last Monday that it had received the necessary data to continue its verification that the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine met the required standards.
From the moment the Pfizer vaccine leaves the factory in Belgium, it can only be withdrawn four times from minus 70 ° C before being injected into a patient's arm.
Sir Simon Stevens, executive director of the NHS in England, said the vaccination program was "the largest vaccination campaign in our country's history".
In a statement, he said: & # 39; This is an important next step in our response to the coronavirus pandemic and hospitals are about to launch the first phase of the largest vaccination campaign in our country's history.
& # 39; The NHS has been shown to have extensive vaccinations from the winter flu shot to BCG. Once the final hurdles are cleared and the vaccine arrives at hospitals in England, health care workers will bring people this groundbreaking vaccination, a program that will be rolled out across the country in the coming months. & # 39;
HOW DO THE OXFORD, MODERNA AND PFIZER / BIONTECH Vaccines compare?
Moderna and Pfizer / BioNTech have both released interim clinical trial results for their end-stage vaccines, both of which indicate that they are extremely effective.
Oxford University has published the results of its second phase, showing that the sting induces an immune response and is safe to use. It's not yet clear how well it protects against coronavirus in the real world.
How to Compare:
PFIZER (US) & BIONTECH (DE)
mRNA vaccine – Genetic material from the coronavirus is injected to stimulate the immune system to make "spike" proteins and learn how to attack them.
mRNA vaccine – both Moderna, Pfizer and BioNTech vaccines work the same way.
Recombinant Viral Vector Vaccine – A harmless cold virus taken from chimpanzees has been engineered to produce the "spike" proteins and look like the coronavirus.
94.5% effective (90 positive in the placebo group, 5 positive in the vaccine group).
95% effective (160 positive in the placebo group, 8 positive in the vaccine group).
62% – 90% effective, depending on the dosage.
Moderna confirmed that countries placing smaller orders, such as the UK's five million cans, will pay between £ 24 and £ 28 per dose. The US has secured 100 million doses for $ 1.525 billion (£ 1.16 billion), suggesting it will cost $ 15.25 (11.57 pounds) per dose.
The US pays $ 1.95 billion (£ 1.48 billion) for the first 100 million doses, which is the equivalent of $ 19.50 (£ 14.80) per dose.
Estimated to cost £ 2.23 per dose. The UK's full 100 million dose supply could add up to just £ 223 million.
The UK has ordered five million cans that will be available from March 2021. Moderna will produce 20 million cans this year, which is expected to remain in the US.
The UK has already ordered 40 million cans, 10 million of which could be available in 2020. The first vaccinations are expected in December.
The UK has already ordered 100 million cans and is expected to come first to get the cans once approved.
What side effects does it cause?
Moderna said the vaccine was "generally safe and well tolerated". Most of the side effects were mild or moderate, but included pain, fatigue and headache, which "generally" were short-lived.
Pfizer and BioNTech did not provide a breakdown of the side effects, but said the Data Monitoring Committee "did not report any serious safety concerns."
Oxford said there were no serious safety concerns. Mild side effects were relatively common in small studies. Many participants reported that their arm hurt after the shock and that they later suffered from headache, fatigue, or muscle pain. Further data is collected.
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