LONDON. The UK approved the use of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine on Wednesday (2/12). This precedes the United States (US) and Europe, which became the first western countries to officially support a vaccination that will reach the most vulnerable as early as next week.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson also praised the approval that British medical authorities had given him and made this a global victory and a glimmer of hope amid the gloom of the coronavirus that has killed nearly 1.5 million people worldwide and damaged the global economy.
Quoting Reuters, Thursday (3/12), the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved the emergency use for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which has a 95% effectiveness rate in preventing Covid-19.
This approval was out in the shortest time, ie only 23 days since Pfizer published the first data from the final stage of its clinical trial.
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Several major countries in the world have indeed been racing to release vaccines to start the long road to recovery. This agreement is also good news for Johnson, who is often criticized in the face of this crisis.
“Vaccines will be available throughout the UK starting next week. Vaccines will eventually allow us to get our lives back and get the economy moving again,” he said.
Approval for the use of this injection vaccine was also issued exactly a year since the Covid-19 virus appeared in Wuhan, China. It’s also a sign of victory for science, according to Pfizer boss Albert Bourla and German biotech partner BioNTech.
However, this swift agreement also drew criticism from Brussels. Some parties consider it too fast.
The European Union’s drug regulator even said it would technically take a longer procedure to approve a vaccine to make it more precise, including gathering more evidence and requiring more medical examinations.
Meanwhile, British officials say they are eager to get the vaccine first. However, the UK has decided that the priority of the vaccine will be given to the people who need it most, such as parents, hospital employees and medical personnel.
Meanwhile, Pfizer said, the authorization of the use of this vaccine marks a historic moment for Britain in the fight against Covid-19. Pfizer announced its breakthrough vaccine on November 9, 2020 with the results of phase III clinical trials
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“This authorization is a goal we have been working on since we first declared science would win, and we laud the MHRA for their ability to make careful assessments and take timely action to protect British society,” said Bourla.
The UK’s drug regulator said the agreement was issued in record time by simultaneously analyzing data and manufacturing processes, while Pfizer raced to conduct trials. “There are no shortcuts,” said MHRA chief June Raine in his official statement.
He added that the first data on this vaccine had actually been received in June 2020 and had undergone a rigorous analysis against international standards. “With 450 people dying of Covid-19 infection every day in the UK, the benefits of vaccine approval outweigh the risks,” said Andrew Hill, Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Pharmacalogy at the University of Liverpool.
Meanwhile, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will hold a meeting on December 10, 2020 to discuss whether to recommend authorizing the emergency use of vaccines together with Pfzier / BioNTech and the European Medicines Agency (EMA). It is estimated that they will also give emergency approval for the vaccine on December 29.
“The data submitted to regulatory agencies around the world is the result of a scientifically rigorous and highly ethical research and development program,” said ugur SAhin, Chief Executive and co-founder of BioNTech.
Meanwhile, BioNTech hopes that the FDA and EMA can make a decision in mid-December 2020.