(Update 1: Adds detail)
London, Dec 2 (efe-epa).- The United Kingdom on Wednesday became the first Western country to approve a Covid-19 vaccine, paving the way for US company Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech to begin rolling out their product in the coming days.
After license approval from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA), the vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week, the British Ministry of Health said in a statement.
Health Minister Matt Hancock confirmed on his Twitter account Wednesday that “the NHS (National Health Service) stands ready to start vaccinating early next week.”
The health ministry said the approval “follows months of rigorous clinical trials and a thorough analysis of the data by experts at the MHRA who have concluded that the vaccine has met its strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “It’s fantastic that @MHRAgovuk has formally authorised the @Pfizer/@BioNTech_Group vaccine for Covid-19. The vaccine will begin to be made available across the UK from next week.
“It’s the protection of vaccines that will ultimately allow us to reclaim our lives and get the economy moving again.”
The UK is set to have 800,000 doses in the first batch of the rollout.
MHRA chief June Raine, chair of the Commission on Human Medicine Expert Working Group, Munir Pirmohamed, and chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation Wei Shen Lim detailed the rollout of the vaccine in a press conference.
Raine hammered home a message that “no corners” were cut in the approval of the vaccine.