NEWS DIGEST 02.12.2020: Britain approves Pfizer COVID vaccine for mass immunisation

Good morning. Today’s article is derived from stories being featured on Google News. The UK has become the first country in the world to officially approve a coronavirus vaccine. The version that has been approved is the Pfizer/BioNTech variant, which is said to offer up to 95 per cent immunity protection. The medicinal regulator MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority) has declared the vaccine safe for rollout as of next week. Elderly and clinically vulnerable citizens are being prioritised to receive the vaccine first, with the British government ordering 40 million doses, enough for nearly one in three of the union’s population – Covid Pfizer vaccine approved for use next week in UK (BBC News Health)

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Britain’s Guardian newspaper has said the approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was an ‘historic moment’, which will open the way for an anti-COVID mass immunisation programme. The first few thousand doses of the vaccine will arrive in the coming days, said the company behind the vaccine. A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “The government has today accepted the recommendation from the MHRA to approve Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for use” “This follows months of rigorous clinical trials and a thorough analysis of the data by experts at the MHRA who have concluded that the vaccine has met its strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness” “The joint committee on vaccination and immunisation will shortly also publish its latest advice for the priority groups to receive the vaccine, including care home residents, health and care staff, the elderly and the clinically extremely vulnerable. The vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week.”Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine approved for use in UK to be rolled out next week (The Guardian)

The UK prime minister Boris Johnson plans to hold a press conference today at 5 p.m. British time, and said that the vaccine will ‘allow us to reclaim our lives and get the economy moving again’. He tweeted it was ‘fantastic’ regulators have formally authorised the vaccine, adding: “The vaccine will begin to be made available across the UK from next week.”. The government warn Britons however that they should not let their guard down in the battle against coronavirus, as the country ended its second nationwide lockdown today – PM to hold 5pm conference telling Brits vaccine will let us ‘reclaim our lives’ (Daily Star)

The Pfizer vaccine is based on the COVID-19 genetic code, or RNA, which tells the body’s cells what antibodies to produce. Once injected, the vaccine prompts the body to begin producing the coronavirus’ spike protein. This in turn causes a immune response to kick in, producing antibodies that will help the body be ready should the real virus ever show up on the scene. The vaccine doses need to be stored at a temperature of around -70 degrees Celsius (-94 deg. Fahrenheit) – Coronavirus Scotland LIVE: Pfizer/BioNTech Vaccine approved and rolled out ‘within days’ (The National)

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