Health Care

British regulators approve Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine

British regulators approve Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine”

"The vaccine will be made available across the United Kingdom from next week".

The U.K. has become the first country in the world to approve a COVID-19 vaccine backed by rigorous science, which Pfizer and partner BioNTech have said showed 95 per cent efficacy in trials. Workers in the National Health Service (NHS) and those most vulnerable to the disease will be the first to get the jab.

The US government has bankrolled a handful of COVID-19 vaccine candidates through Operation Warp Speed.

Who will get it and when?

. First in line, the British government says, are frontline health care workers and nursing home residents, followed by older adults.

The US is averaging one death from Covid-19 per minute, according to a global health expert who serves on an advisory panel under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Life won't ever be the same as it was before Covid-19, but it will feel a whole lot better than now".

The recommendation now go to the director of the CDC, Dr. Robert Redfield, who does not have to accept it but likely will.

"Our advice remains that the timeline for a decision on approval is expected by the end of January, 2021, and our planning is for first vaccine delivery in March, 2021", Health Minister Greg Hunt said in a statement. That shot can be kept at -20°C, which is equal to most home and medical freezer temperatures, for up to six months.

The committee also discussed at length the systems in place for collecting and monitoring reports of side-effects and adverse events from the vaccine. There will also be some production at BioNTech's sites in Germany. Other pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca Plc and Johnson & Johnson also have vaccines in the works.

Though the group voted to prioritize distribution to residents and staff at long-term care facilities, some ACIP members had doubts about voting to approve the recommendation.

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"No corners have been cut", MHRA chief June Raine said in a televised briefing from Downing Street, adding that the first data on the vaccine had been received in June and undergone a rigorous analysis to worldwide standards.

Second, Talbot said she anxious that long term care facilities aren't equipped to properly monitor potential adverse effects from vaccinations.

A pedestrian wearing a protective face covering to combat the spread of the coronavirus walks past the Christmas-themed window displays of shops in central London on November 27, 2020, as a second lockdown continues in England.

Ultimately, based on the growing number of cases and the urgent need to corral the spreading virus, the committee members felt that, at least to begin with, vaccinating healthcare workers and those living in long term care facilities made the most sense.

Asked if the prime minister would take the shot live on television, press secretary Allegra Stratton said she had not asked him directly.

The FDA advisory committee is scheduled to meet on December 10 to discuss whether the Pfizer vaccine should receive emergency-use authorization.

The fact that the U.K. approved a vaccine developed by an American company - in partnership with a German one - before the United States could pour fuel on the already tense relationship between President Trump and the FDA, which has taken a more deliberative process in reviewing vaccine data.

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