December 03 2020 at 10:20 PM by Samikshya Joshi
Coronavirus Vaccine makers are seeking authorization and have enough doses ready for mass inoculation in the early months of 2021. The United Kingdom becomes the first country to approve Pfizer’s vaccine. The first short is believed to roll out next week. Help is on the way," Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced Wednesday morning after UK regulators granted emergency authorization for a vaccine made by US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech. The UK has ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine-enough to vaccinate 20 million people. Hancock told the BBC that an initial 800,000 doses would be delivered from Pfizer's facilities in Belgium to the UK next week, and "many millions" more before the end of the year.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine employs a new approach to making vaccines that uses a piece of genetic material called messenger RNA to prompt the body to make synthetic pieces of the coronavirus and stimulate an immune response. But mRNA is very fragile, so the vaccine must be kept at ultra-cold temperatures, meaning special storage equipment is required. Stevens also noted that the vaccine has to be given in two doses 21 days apart, so the process will take time. Second doses will also need to be reserved for people who get the first shot in December, he said, emphasizing that people will need to continue practicing social distancing guidance and be careful as the vaccine is deployed to the wider population.
The UK authorization will be a welcome moment for the government, which has been roundly criticized for a string of failures that have contributed to a death tolls of nearly 60,000 - Europe's highest.