It’s the news that many have been waiting for – a COVID-19 vaccine has been given the go-ahead. It could be given in the UK as soon as next week.
Several trials have made headlines lately, but it’s the Pfizer vaccine that has been approved. The UK is the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for widespread use.
MHRA (the British regulator), says the jab is safe for rollout next week. Trials show it offers up to 95% protection against Covid-19.
Some 40 million doses have been ordered, which will be enough to vaccinate 20 million people. The jab will be given to those who need it most first, such as elderly, vulnerable patients.
The first 800,000 doses will be arriving in the UK in the next few days. Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted about the good news.
He says: “It’s the protection of vaccines that will ultimately allow us to reclaim our lives and get the economy moving again.”
Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary told BBC Breakfast people will be contacted by the NHS when it is their turn. He said: “I’m confident now with the news today that from spring, from Easter onwards, things are going to be better and we’re going to have a summer next year that everybody can enjoy.”
The Pfizer/BioNTech jab is the fastest a vaccine has been made, because developmental steps normally take a decade were finished in ten months.
Nearly 50 hospitals are on standby, plus vaccination centres are setting up now.
Experts say we must stick to social distancing and face masks, as well as testing people who may have the virus and asking them to isolate.
Professor of Immunology at Imperial College London, Prof Danny Altman, says news of the approval is “momentous”. “We have the first emergency approval for use of a really effective vaccine. Truly heroic.”
However, Prof Chris Whitty, England’s Chief Medical Officer says: “We can’t lower our guard yet.”
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