A worker passes a line of freezers holding coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine candidate BNT162b2 at a Pfizer facility in Puurs, Belgium in an undated photograph.
Pfizer | via Reuters
The U.K. became the first country in the world to authorize the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, making it available from next week.
“The Government has today accepted the recommendation from the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for use,” the government said Wednesday.
“The vaccine will be made available across the U.K. from next week.”
BioNTech, the German biotech that developed the vaccine with Pfizer, said in a statement that the companies are ready to deliver the first doses to the U.K. immediately.
Pfizer’s Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla said the authorization from the U.K.’s Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) was a “historic moment.”
“Today’s Emergency Use Authorization in the U.K. 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.,” he said.
“As we anticipate further authorizations and approvals, we are focused on moving with the same level of urgency to safely supply a high-quality vaccine around the world. With thousands of people becoming infected, every day matters in the collective race to end this devastating pandemic.”
Pfizer and BioNTech announced in July an agreement with the U.K. to supply 30 million doses of its mRNA-based vaccine, formally known as “BNT162b2,” once authorized for emergency use. That agreement was increased to 40 million doses in early October.
This is a breaking news story, please check back later for more.