UK cleared to offer Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine
“The UK became the first western country to approve a Covid-19 vaccine, with its regulator clearing Pfizer and BioNTech’s shot ahead of decisions in the US and EU,” reported Bloomberg (2 December 2020). Health secretary Matt Hancock said that 800 000 doses were ready to be delivered from Belgium by next week. Meanwhile Britain’s COVID-19 death toll nears 60 000.
The country has ordered enough doses of the two-shot Pfizer-BioNTech shot to inoculate 20-m people, less than one-third of the population. While the companies have said they can produce 1.3- bn doses in 2021, much of that supply is already spoken for in deals to ship hundreds of millions of shots to Europe, the US, Japan and elsewhere.
The approval also marks the first time a vaccine based on messenger RNA has reached the market.