UK approves Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, first in the world

December 2, 2020 - 3:23 PM
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Vials with a sticker reading, "COVID-19 / Coronavirus vaccine / Injection only" and a medical syringe are seen in front of a displayed Pfizer logo in this illustration taken October 31, 2020. (Reuters/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo)

LONDON — Britain on Wednesday became the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use and said that it will be rolled out from early 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 government said.

“The vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week.”

Pfizer said Britain’s emergency use authorization marks a historic moment in the fight against COVID-19.

“This authorization 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 authorizations and approvals, we are focused on moving with the same level of urgency to safely supply a high-quality vaccine around the world.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the program would begin early next week. Hospitals, he said, were already ready to receive it.

“It is very good news,” Hancock said. —Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge, Paul Sandle and Kate Holton