UK is preparing to become the first country to roll out the Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine this week.
According to a report by Reuters, the shots will be initially available at hospitals before distributing stocks to doctors' clinics, the government said on Sunday. The first doses are set to be administered on Tuesday (December 8), with the National Health Service (NHS) giving top priority to vaccinating the over-80s, frontline healthcare workers and care home staff and residents.
In total, Britain has ordered 40 million doses - enough to vaccinate 20 million people in the country of 67 million. About 800,000 doses are expected to be available within the first week. Initial doses that have arrived from Belgium are being stored in secure locations across the country, where they will be quality checked, the UK health ministry said.
Meanwhile, Pfizer India has become the first pharmaceutical firm to seek from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) an emergency use authorisation for its COVID-19 vaccine in the country, after its parent company secured such clearance in the UK and Bahrain.
The UK on Wednesday became the first country to approve the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19, paving the way for mass vaccinations against the deadly novel coronavirus.
The British regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), says the jab, which claims to offer up to 95 percent protection against COVID-19 illness, is safe for roll out.
The joint vaccine, produced by American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German biotech firm BioNTech, had recently claimed trials suggested it works well in people of all ages, races, and ethnicities.
(Inputs from Agencies)