The UK today became the first country to approve the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech SE. The vaccine will be available in Britain from next week, according to a statement from the U.K. government. The emergency authorization clears the way for the deployment of a vaccine that’s expected to play a significant role in the global effort to halt the coronavirus.
“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. This 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,” the UK government said in a statement.
The U.K. has ordered enough doses of the two-shot Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to immunize 20 million people. The companies also have deals to supply hundreds of millions of shots to Europe, the U.S., Japan and elsewhere.