The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) will review of data from Pfizer/BioNTech to determine whether its vaccine meets robust standards of quality, safety, and effectiveness.
The companies have reported data that indicates their vaccine is 94% effective in protecting people over 65 years old from COVID-19, with trials suggesting it works equally well in people of all ages, races and ethnicities.
As the first country to pre-order the vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech, the UK is expected to receive a total of 40 million doses by the end of 2021, enough to vaccinate up to a third of the population, with the majority of doses anticipated in the first half of next year.
The COVID-19 vaccine will only be authorised for supply by the UK’s independent regulator the MHRA if it meets strict standards of quality, safety, and effectiveness, and if they are satisfied the vaccine can be consistently manufactured.
Today marks the next step forward for the vaccine following the MHRA’s confirmation that it has received the necessary data to progress their review into whether the vaccine meets the required standards.
Despite encouraging data about this vaccine, people must continue to follow public health advice to keep themselves and their loved ones safe; regularly washing their hands, wearing a face mask and making space.
The government has purchased 7 different types of vaccine in advance and procured 355 million doses. This includes 100 million doses of the vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “Today, we have renewed hope that we are on the brink of one of the most significant scientific discoveries of our time, as we reach the crucial last stage to finding a COVID-19 vaccine. While this news is a cause for celebration, we must make sure that this vaccine, like all new medicines, meets standards of quality, safety, and effectiveness. I urge the public to be patient while we wait for regulators to do a thorough assessment. Finding a vaccine is not going to end the pandemic overnight, but we are hopeful of being one step closer to defeating this terrible virus.”