UK authorizes Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, CEO Albert Bourla tags it as ‘historic moment’

The United Kingdom has approved Pfizer/BioNTech Coronavirus vaccine for the widespread use becoming the first country to do so.

Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA), said the vaccine offers up to 95% protection against COVID-19 illness and is safe for roll out next week. As per the BBC, immunizations could start within days for people in high priority groups.


A representative from the Department of Health and Social Care said, “The government has today accepted the recommendation from the MHRA to approve Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for use.”

He added “The joint committee on vaccination and immunization will also publish its latest advice for the priority groups to receive the vaccine, including care home residents, health and care staff, the elderly and the clinically extremely vulnerable. The vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week.”

The Chairman and CEO of Pfizer Albert Bourla said “Today’s emergency use authorization in the UK 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 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. With thousands of people becoming infected, everyday matters in the collective race to end this devastating pandemic,” he added.

The vaccine is to store at -70C, the companies say it can be stored for up to five days in a fridge, at 2-8°C. The first priority groups for vaccination are care home residents, who may not be able to come to a vaccination centre.

The vaccine will be of a new type called an mRNA vaccine that uses a tiny fragment of genetic code from the pandemic virus to teach the body how to fight Covid-19 and build immunity.

An mRNA vaccine has never been approved for use in humans before, although people have received them in clinical trials, the BBC reported.

Pfizer and BioNTech say their combined manufacturing network has the potential to supply globally up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021.

Russia has been using another vaccine, called Sputnik V, and the Chinese military has approved another one made by CanSino Biologics. Both work in a similar way to the Oxford vaccine.