The UK became the first western country to approve a Covid-19 vaccine with its regulator clearing Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE’s shot ahead of decisions in the US and European Union.
The emergency authorization clears the way for the deployment of a vaccine that’s expected to play a significant role in the global effort to halt the coronavirus. Pfizer and its German partner said in November that the shot, relying on novel technology called messenger RNA, was 95% effective in a final analysis of clinical-trial data.
The vaccine will be available in Britain from next week, according to a statement from the UK government.
The UK had signaled it would move swiftly in approving a vaccine as part of an operation to protect its population, and doctors across the country were put on standby for a possible rollout. For the government, it’s an opportunity to make up for missteps during the pandemic as Britain’s death toll nears 60,000.
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