On December 2nd, the United Kingdom approved the Pfizer and BioNTech Coronavirus vaccine. Clinical trials have found this vaccine to be 95% effective and 94% effective in those who are over the age of 65.
Next week, a batch of 800,000 doses will be rolled out all over the UK. Those who get priority will be the elderly, then those with underlying health conditions, and some who work in health care. The down side of this vaccine is that it will need to be administered two times 21 days apart. On top of that, the vaccine will only be effective if it is stored at -70 degree Celsius.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson explained that because a vaccine was approved does not mean safety guidelines are no longer needed. Similarly, Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy chief medical officer for England states, “If we relax too soon, if we just kind of go ‘ahh the vaccine is here, let’s abandon caution,’ all you’re going to do is create a tidal wave of infections, and this vaccine’s got to work in a headwind to get back ahead of the game and that will make it harder.”
This vaccine has been one the fastest approved in history, as it normally takes years to approve a vaccine. The UK Department of Health stated that the vaccine was put through months of rigorous testing and clinical trials, and that it has met the strict standards that they uphold.
Earlier in the week, according to CNN, President Trump asked the Food and Drug Administration why they have not approved emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine. The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee is planning to meet December 10 to consider the approval of the vaccine.
Even though the vaccine has been “well-tolerated” in 43,000 participants, they will continue to be monitored to see if it will be safe for an additional dose two years after the second dose.
BioNTech CEO Uğur Şahin stated he was “confident that an authorization in the U.S. could also happen within the next two weeks.”