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, according to Bloomberg News.
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.