UK’s independent regulator to evaluate latest data from Pfizer and BioNTech to ensure the quality, safety and effectiveness of the vaccine meets the standards required.
The government today (Monday 23 November) welcomes the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) 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.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said:
Final deployment plans will depend on decisions by regulators but preparations have been underway for months and are in place to ensure that:
- the NHS will be ready to begin vaccinating as soon as the first vaccine is approved and delivered to the UK
- GPs have already been signed up to take part in the programme when an appropriate vaccine is ready
- dozens of hospitals across the country will lead co-ordination on behalf of neighbouring hospitals, community trusts and local health groups in vaccinating staff and other priority groups
- there will also be vaccinations sites across the country
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.
The UK government is working closely with the devolved administrations to ensure an aligned approach to COVID-19 vaccine deployment across the UK.
Chair of Vaccines Taskforce, Kate Bingham, said: