UK gives Pfizer green light, becomes first country to approve COVID-19 vaccine after completed trials

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency — the United Kingdom's equivalent of the FDA — granted emergency use authorization to the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNtech Dec. 2, becoming the first country to approve a COVID-19 vaccine that has completed phase 3 trials.

The U.K. will roll out the vaccine in the week following its approval. The government said it will publish its final guidance on who will receive the first doses shortly, and healthcare workers, nursing home residents and those with clinical conditions that make them especially vulnerable to COVID-19 will be prioritized. 

"As we anticipate further authorizations and approvals, we are focused on moving with the same level of urgency to safely supply a high-quality vaccine around the world," Pfizer's chairman and CEO, Albert Bourla, PhD, said in a news release. "With thousands of people becoming infected, every day matters in the collective race to end this devastating pandemic."

Pfizer submitted an application for an emergency use authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine to the FDA Nov. 20, which is currently under review. If approved, the drugmaker said it would be ready to distribute the vaccine within hours of authorization.


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