UK first in world to approve Pfizer vaccine

Britain became the first country in the world to approve a coronavirus vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech on Wednesday (December 2),

The government said it will be rolled out across the UK from early next week.

Britain's vaccine committee will decide which priority groups get the jab first.

The likeliest candidates are care home residents, health and care staff, the elderly and people who are clinically very vulnerable.

British health minister Matt Hancock said he expects to have millions of doses of the vaccine available by the end of the year,

But he admitted distributing the vaccine could be a challenge,

When it must be kept at -70c - the same temperature as an Antarctic winter.

Pfizer-BioNTech and their U.S. rival Moderna have reported successful early trial results.

Their initial findings recorded their vaccines as being above 90% effectiveness.

Pfizer said Britain's emergency use authorization is a historic moment in the fight against the virus.

Vaccines are seen as the best chance to the get the world back to normality.

Pfizer now believes more approvals from other regulators are on the way.

It has applied for clearance from the U.S. and EU, with decisions expected in December.

The EU said Tuesday it will decide whether to approve Pfizer's vaccine by December 29th.

It's drug regulator the European Medicines Agency said Wednesday that its longer approval process was safer,

And based on more evidence and checks than the emergency procedure chosen by the UK.

Video Transcript

- Britain became the first country in the world to approve a coronavirus vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech on Wednesday. The government said it will be rolled out across the UK from early next week. Britain's vaccine committee will decide which priority groups get the jab first. The likeliest candidates are care home residents, health and care staff, the elderly, and people who are clinically very vulnerable.

British Health Minister Matt Hancock said he expects to have millions of doses of the vaccine available by the end of the year. But he admitted distributing the vaccine could be a challenge when it must be kept at minus 70C, the same temperature as an Antarctic winter. Pfizer and BioNTech and their US rival Moderna have reported successful early trial results. Their initial findings recorded their vaccines as being above 90% effectiveness. Pfizer said Britain's emergency use authorization is a historic moment in the fight against the virus.

Vaccines are seen as the best chance to get the world back to normality. Pfizer now believes more approvals from other regulators are on the way. It's applied for clearance from the US and EU, with decisions expected in December. The EU said Tuesday, it will decide whether to approve Pfizer's vaccine by December 29. Its drug regulator, the European Medicines Agency, said Wednesday that its longer approval process was safer and based on more evidence and checks than the emergency procedure chosen by the UK.