Pfizer's first coronavirus vaccine doses to arrive in United Kingdom in 'coming days'


Britain became the first country in the world to authorize a rigorously tested COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday and could be dispensing shots within days - a historic step toward eventually ending the scourge that has killed more than 1.4 million people around the globe.

"It was very clear from the beginning that we need to to go into a collaboration", said Sahin. "The NHS [National Health Service] has decades of experience in delivering large-scale vaccination programs and will begin putting their extensive preparations into action to provide care and support to all those eligible for vaccination".

"We are focusing on moving with the same level of urgency to safely supply a high-quality vaccine around the world, " Bourla said in a statement.

The 975 doses they contain would be too many for individual care homes, meaning the vaccine would be wasted, he explained.

The UK has already ordered 40 million doses - enough to vaccinate 20 million people.

As millions of European citizens gear up for the festive season, the European Union's executive commission urges member countries to keep strong anti-coronavirus restrictions in place to avoid a post-holiday surge of cases and deaths but stops short of advising against travel. Social distancing will still be in the cards for six to nine months, he said.

A CMA might take longer than America's emergency use authorization, because the CMA looks at "all pharmacovigilance, manufacturing controls including batch controls for vaccines and other post-approval obligations apply in a legally binding manner and are evaluated and acted upon by EMA's scientific committees on a continuous basis", the agency's press service wrote Tuesday.

The 56-year-old Conservative leader was one of the first senior British officials to get infected with the virus in April, after his government was slow to adopt strict lockdown measures.

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The move makes Britain one of the first countries to begin the process of vaccinating its population as it tries to the COVID-19 outbreak. It's expected to be given to healthcare workers first, followed by residents of care home.

Other elderly people and the clinically extremely vulnerable will be next, with the rest of the population then prioritised by age.

With the European Medicines Agency (EMA) expected to rule on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by December 29, "we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel" with plans for nationwide free inoculations, Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza said Wednesday.

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Much of the U.K.'s supply will be produced at Pfizer's facilities in Puurs, Belgium.

It can then be stored for up to five days at 2-8 degrees Celsius, which will allow for transportation and regular fridge storage at distribution centres, according to Pfizer and the United Kingdom government. Until now, the technology had never been approved for a drug in humans, but the company's founders said they immediately saw the potential when the virus first emerged early this year.

The MHRA is also examining data on vaccines developed by the Moderna and the partnership between Oxford University and AstraZeneca.

"Our expert scientists and clinicians worked tirelessly, around the clock, carefully, scientifically, robustly and rigorously poring over hundreds of pages and tables of data, methodically reviewing the data".