As coronavirus cases continue to rise, the UK plans to move fast in the approval process and clearance to Pfizer and BioNTech SE could come by next week.The first deliveries of their coronavirus vaccine could be made available to NHS workers in the UK later this month.

The United Kingdom (UK) may become the first country to approve Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate as the companies surge ahead with their production plans before the official rollout across the world.

As the coronavirus cases continue to rise, the UK plans to move quickly into the approval process, and clearance to Pfizer and BioNTech SE could come by next week, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed sources.

So far, only China and Russia have approved the COVID-19 vaccines for general populace. The UK government expects the rollout of the vaccine before Christmas by skipping EU regulators as it prepares for Brexit transitions. The UK’s drug regulator, Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, has said it will process clearance for Pfizer vaccine in “the shortest time possible” without compromising on safety.

In the US too, Pfizer has applied for an emergency use authorisation for its COVID-19 vaccine after collecting the safety data necessary to apply to the US Food and Drug Administration, CEO Albert Bourla said.

The two companies (Pfizer and BioNTech) found their vaccine candidate – BNT162b2 – to be 95 per cent effective against COVID-19. During the early analysis, the vaccine had shown 90 per cent efficacy but the final analysis involving 170 participants showed 95 per cent efficacy. The announcement by Pfizer came after another US pharma company, Moderna Inc, claimed its vaccine was 94.5 per cent effective against COVID-19 earlier this month.

UK is likely to approve Pfizer and BioNTech SE’s coronavirus vaccine by next week. Reports suggest that National Health Service (NHS) workers in Britain could be vaccinated as early as December 7.

With an efficacy rate of 95 per cent, Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine has emerged as a promising candidate. Britain has already placed an order for 40 million doses of the vaccine and is likely to receive the first deliveries by December 7 if everything goes according to plan.

The UK had on November 20 asked its medical regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), to assess the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. In addition, the MHRA is also in the process of determining whether Oxford university and AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine “meets rigorous safety standards”.

A ‘genetic-type’ vaccine, Pfizer-BioNTech’s experimental Covid-19 entered into phase 3 clinical trials in July of this year.

If regulators in the UK give emergency use authorisation in this regard, this will pave the way for the first such vaccine rollout anywhere in the world.

Similarly, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel priced the Covid-19 vaccine between USD 25 and USD 27 earlier this week.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday assigned junior business minister Nadhim Zahawi to supervise the deployment of Covid-19 vaccines in the UK. Reports now suggest that NHS workers will receive the vaccine in the first tranche of vaccinations in Britain.

With over 16 lakh confirmed cases across the country, Covid-19 has claimed 58,127 lives in the UK to date. In fact, the British government has devised a three-tier system to classify hotspots into three tiers based on the severity of the outbreak in that particular area.

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