The UK has approved a COVID-19 vaccine. British care home residents, older adults and health care workers will be first to be inoculated with the groundbreaking vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
The British government has assured the public the vaccine is safe, having been through rigorous clinical trials with the results analysed by the national medicine regulator. 800,000 doses will be distributed to vulnerable people as early as next week, while the majority of the population will be vaccinated in the new year.
The vaccine is one of several in development as the world’s scientists race to fight the pandemic. Developed by German biotech firm BioNTech and US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, it’s also the first vaccine to use cutting-edge mRNA genetic material to fight the illness. The treatment is reported to be over 90% effective.
The vaccine has to be stored at a temperature of -70 degrees Celsius (-94 degrees Fahrenheit), so is expected to be administered in hospitals at first until suitable storage is rolled out to other locations.
The US is examining the Pfizer vaccine and a similar vaccine developed by Moderna. The US Food and Drug Administration is expected to follow the UK in approving one or more of the treatments soon.