The UK on Wednesday became the first western country to
approve a vaccine against Covid-19, allowing mass inoculations against the
British regulator Medicines
and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) gave nod to
Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine after finding out that the jab meets “robust” standards
of quality, safety and effectiveness and is safe for roll out.
The authorization to use the vaccine, jointly developed by US
pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German firm BioNTech, may intensify pressure on
US regulators to speed up its own programme. Russia and China had earlier
approved vaccines without waiting for results of large-scale efficacy tests,
sparkling debates of the safety aspect.
“I’m obviously absolutely thrilled with the news, very proud
that the UK is the first place in the world to have a clinically authorised
vaccine,” British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.
Britain has pre-ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine after
late-stage clinical trials found them effective against the virus.
Pfizer and its partner firm had claimed the vaccine was 95
per cent effective across different age-groups.
“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 UK. 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," said Albert Bourla, Chief Executive Officer, Pfizer.