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UK becomes the first country in the world to approve COVID-19 vaccine for use

LONDON: In a significant development, the United Kingdom (UK) has become the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use. Health regulator MHRA has already given its approval and the vaccine will be rolled out from early next week. The government has secured 40 million doses of the vaccine

Studies have shown the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is 95% effective and works in all age groups. The vaccine needs to be refrigerated at -70C (-94F).

Patients need two doses each and ten million doses are expected in the UK by the end of the year.

Matt Hancock, health secretary, has said there would be “three modes of delivery” of the vaccine.

ALSO READ: Japan enacts law to provide free COVID-19 vaccines to all

“The first is hospitals themselves, which of course we’ve got facilities like this. Also vaccination centres, which will be big centres where people can go to get vaccinated. They are being set up now,” he has been quoted as saying by Sky News.

The health secretary has also informed that the military are involved in the logistics of the vaccine rollout and 800,000 vaccines are being brought from Belgium.

An effective vaccine is seen as the main weapon in fighting the pandemic, which has claimed more than 14 lakh lives worldwide.

According to reports, Britain’s vaccine committee will decide which priority groups will get the jab first such as care home residents, health and care staff, the elderly and people who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

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.

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