Coronavirus: UK approves Pfizer vaccine candidate

The UK leapfrogged the rest of the western world in accepting the candidate which is shown to be about 95 percent effective against COVID-19.

The United Kingdom is the first country to approve the Pfizer and BioNTech manufactured COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine candidate, BNT162b2.

According to a news release, emergency use authorization (EUA) was granted for the vaccine candidate by the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the UK.

“Today’s Emergency Use Authorization in the U.K. marks a historic moment in the fight against COVID-19,” Albert Bourla, chairman and CEO of Pfizer, says in the release. “This authorization is a goal we have been working toward since we first declared that science will win, and we applaud the MHRA for their ability to conduct a careful assessment and take timely action to help protect the people of the UK. As we anticipate further authorizations and approvals, we are focused on moving with the same level of urgency to safely supply a high-quality vaccine around the world. With thousands of people becoming infected, everyday matters in the collective race to end this devastating pandemic.”

Last month the companies filed for an EUA in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Europe, and Japan for authorization. The plan is to produce 50 million doses of the drug by the end of the year and up to an additional 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021.

Previously, the companies said BNT162b2 showed 95 percent efficacy in patients not previously infected with COVID-19 and also those who have previously been infected beginning 28 days after the first dose which meets all of the study’s primary efficacy standpoints.

In July, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services placed an initial order for 100 million doses of BNT162b2 for $1.95 billion after it is manufactured and either obtains approval or emergency use authorization from the FDA. The federal government will also be able to acquire up to an additional 500 million doses and American patients will receive the vaccine free.

Officials with Operation Warp Speed have announced that about 40 million doses of BNT162b2 another promising vaccine candidate manufactured by Moderna could be available for distribution by the end of December, according to a report from Drug Topics.