The United Kingdom has authorized the distribution of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine, making it the first Western country to do so, ahead of both the United States and the European Union.
Previously, the UK had made clear that it intended to move fast on any promising vaccine candidates. While China and Russia have both cleared COVID-19 vaccines for mass distribution, it is unlikely that this will be adopted by the US and the European Union amid rising criticisms.
A statement by the government reveals that the vaccine will be available in the UK by next week, with outright approval by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency which believes that the vaccine has “met its strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.”
Earlier this week, the MHRA said that it would “make a decision in the shortest time possible, without compromising the thoroughness of our review.”