Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine approved by UK government, to roll out next week for use

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is safe for the rollout next week in the UK and immunisation can be started next week for people who are in the high priority groups.

UK approves Pfizer vaccine
UK approves Pfizer vaccine

The United Kingdom became the first country on December 2, 2020, to approve the widespread use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against the pandemic.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency- MHRA, a British regulator, approved the vaccine against the virus and informed that it offers up to 95% of protection against it. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is safe for the rollout next week and immunisation can be started soon for people who are in the high priority groups.

Pfizer CEO, Albert Bourla, while commenting on the approval stated that Britain’s emergency use authorization has marked a historic moment in the fight against the pandemic. He added that this authorization was the goal that the firm had been working for since it first declared that science will win. The company also applauded MHRA for its ability of conducting careful assessments and taking timely action for the protection of people.

Britain plans to start vaccination from next week:

The British government has already ordered 40million doses which will be sufficient to vaccinate 20million people in the country, with two shots each. Around 10 million doses of vaccine will be available soon, with the first doses arriving in the United Kingdom in the coming days.

 Matt Hancock, Health Secretary stated that the programme will be started from early next week as hospitals in Britain were already ready to receive it.

While sharing the news through Twitter, he announced that help is on its way and NHS is ready to start the vaccination in the early next week.

However, the experts have underlined that even though vaccination will start, people will still need to remain vigilant and must follow COVID-19 rules in order to stop the spread of the virus. It will mean sticking with the face masks and social distancing as well as testing people who may have the virus and asking them for self-isolation.

About Pfizer vaccine:

It is a new type which is called an mRNA vaccine. It uses a tiny fragment of genetic code from the virus in order to teach the body how to fight it and to build immunity against it.

mRNA vaccine has never been approved to be used in humans before, although people who were in clinical trials of the vaccine have received the doses.

Who will get the vaccine and when?

The experts in the UK have shown a provisional priority list, targeting people who are at higher risk. On top are care home residents and staff who are then followed by people over 80 and other social and health care workers.

They will be receiving the first stock of the vaccine- as soon as next week. Mass immunization of those who are over 50, as well as those younger people who have pre-existing health conditions, can happen as more stocks of vaccine become available in 2021. Pfizer vaccine is given as 2 injections,21 days apart, where the second dose is given as a booster.

Other COVID vaccines to be available in the UK:

There are some promising vaccines that could be approved soon by the government. One is from Moderna which uses the same mRNA approach as used by Pfizer and offers similar protection. The government has already ordered 7 million doses that can be ready by spring.

The British government has also ordered 100m doses of different types of COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca and Oxford University. This vaccine uses a harmless vaccine which is altered to look a lot more like the virus that causes the infection.

Comparison of COVID-19 vaccines:


How much effective

Cost per dose (in dollars)

Oxford University-AstraZeneca









Gamaleya (Sputnik V)




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