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The UK government has approved the mass production of Pfizer’s vaccine to prevent further cases of COVID-19.
It becomes the first country to approve the mass use of the vaccine.
Ten million vaccines will be rolled out from next week to the end of the year.
Studies in November say the vaccine is 95% effective and works for all age groups.
“Help is on its way with this vaccine — and we can now say that with certainty, rather than with all the caveats,” the British health secretary, Matt Hancock, said on Wednesday, as the government authorized the vaccine.
In a statement, the health department said the approval “follows months of rigorous clinical trials and a thorough analysis of the data by experts at the [Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)] who have concluded that the vaccine has met its strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.
“The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) will shortly 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.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the news as “fantastic” in a tweet, adding that “it’s the protection of vaccines that will ultimately allow us to reclaim our lives and get the economy moving again.”
The UK has ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine — enough to vaccinate 20 million people. Hancock told the BBC that an initial 800,000 doses would be available in the UK next week, and “we’ll then deploy it at the speed that it’s manufactured” by Pfizer at its facilities in Belgium. The bulk of the rollout will come next year.
Elderly people in care homes, along with health workers and other vulnerable people, will be top of the priority list.
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