The Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech has been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency for use in the UK and will be rolled out from next week.

Britain is the first country in the world to approve a Covid vaccine for use.

So far the government has ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab, enough to vaccinate 20 million people as two doses are required.

Around 10m doses should be available soon, with the first 800,000 arriving in the UK in the coming days.

It is the fastest ever vaccine to go from concept to reality, taking only 10 months to follow the same developmental steps that normally span a decade.

Prime Minister reacts to the vaccine being approved

Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted “It’s the protection of vaccines that will ultimately allow us to reclaim our lives and get the economy moving again.”

The Health Secretary told BBC Breakfast 800,000 doses of the vaccine will be available next week, with “several millions” more coming throughout December.

Matt Hancock said the bulk of the rollout will come in the new year, adding: “We haven’t put a finger on the numbers before Christmas.

Health secretary reacting to the news with help is on its way

He also revealed some detail of the practicalities of rolling out the vaccine, which must be stored at -70°C.

Its being reported that

logistics company Movianto will take delivery of the vast majority of the doses at a few key warehouses around the country, equipped with specialised freezers. Some of the vials will then be dispatched from Movianto in frozen form direct to hospitals.

The rest will be passed onto several hubs which are in the process of also being equipped with freezers.

Here the vials can be defrosted to fridge temperature, as they are needed.

The Pfizer vaccine can reportedly last for up to five days under these conditions, so once defrosted it will be a race against time to deliver it before it is compromised.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said:

The government has today accepted the recommendation from the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (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 revealed their provisional list of people who might be at the front of the queue to get a vaccine. They are older adults’ resident in a care home and care home workers, followed by all those 80 and over and health and social care workers. Before working down the list decreasing by age.

England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, said that, despite the positive vaccine news, “we can’t lower our guard yet”.

He tweeted: “The independent regulator authorised the first vaccine for use against Covid-19.

“This is excellent news and a step towards normality. It will take until spring until the vulnerable population who wish to are fully vaccinated. We can’t lower our guard yet.”


Speaking at the safety committee on Wednesday

Dr June Raine, from the MHRA said the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine “meets rigorous high standards of safety, of effectiveness and of quality”.

“The public’s safety has always been at the forefront of our minds,” she stresses.

Remember if you’re not sure on the vaccine you can read our guide to what we know so far here: