The British government has requested that the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) assess the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine, as Health Secretary Matt Hancock hopes to roll it out from December.
"I can confirm that the government has formally asked the MHRA to assess the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine for its suitability for authorisation," Hancock told journalists at a press conference on Friday, calling it the “first step” on the way towards the vaccine’s approval.
“If the regulator approves a vaccine, we will be ready to start the vaccination next month, with the bulk of the rollout in the new year,” the health secretary added.The UK has already ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech jab, and it expects the first 10 million doses to be delivered by the end of the year.
Earlier on Friday, Pfizer and BioNTech announced they were to seek emergency use approval for their vaccine from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), adding that they had also initiated similar procedures in Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan, and the UK.
The companies also said they planned to supply up to 50 million vaccine doses globally by the end of 2020.
On Wednesday, Pfizer and BioNTech announced their coronavirus vaccine candidate to be 95 percent effective, citing its Phase Three trial results.
As well as the vaccine jointly developed by US company Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech, the British government has also ordered 100 million doses of a vaccine from Swedish-British organisation AstraZeneca and Oxford University, which is still in clinical trials, as well as five million doses from US firm Moderna. Delivery of the Moderna jab is anticipated for spring 2021.
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