MHRA approves Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the UK, will be available from next week

In a historic development, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) of the United Kingdom has given approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. With this, the UK has become the first western country ahead of the US and Europe to approve a vaccine for mass immunisation. The MHRA was given the power to approve a suitable vaccine by the Boris Johnson government under special regulations before 1 January.

In a statement, the government has said that the vaccine will be available in the UK from next week. The UK has already bought 40 million doses. The vaccine which has to be kept at -70C, as per the company, can be stored for up to five days in a fridge, at an average temperature of 2 to 8°C.

A government spokesperson has said that the experts at MHRA have conducted various studies and concluded that the vaccine was apt and has met its strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.

He added that the MHRA officials would soon issue the next advisory on the vaccination process and the priority groups who would receive the vaccine. The first priority group includes care home residents, health and care staff, the elderly and others who are extremely vulnerable.

Earlier, Pfizer-BioNTech had claimed that their Covid-19 vaccine was safe and had 95 per cent efficacy and has claimed that it works well for older people who are most at risk of fatality due to the disease. Its final result had shown that in the final trial only eight of the 20,000 people who were given the vaccine got infected due to the coronavirus.