UK set to approve Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine within days

UK set to approve Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine within days

Rollout of two-shot jab could begin as soon as December 7

The UK is poised to become the first western country to approve a Covid-19 vaccine, with the independent regulator set to grant approval within days.

Deliveries of the vaccine developed by BioNTech and Pfizer would begin within hours of the authorisation, according to government officials. The first injections could take place from December 7.

The UK has ordered 40m doses of the two-shot product, which preliminary data found to be more than 95 per cent effective in preventing disease.

Vaccines would normally be authorised by the European Medicines Agency until the end of the Brexit transition on December 31. However the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has the power to temporarily authorise products, in cases of urgent public need.

The same process could be applied to the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford university. On Friday, the government wrote to the regulator, asking it to review the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine.