Pfizer vaccine approved in the UK – starts vaccination next week – E24

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The Pfizer vaccine is approved for use in the United Kingdom. According to the Minister of Health, the vaccination will start next week, he says in an interview with Sky News.

Zeljko Lukunic / NTB

Published:,

Health Minister Matt Hancock says this is fantastic news, and that the public health service NHS is ready and will start vaccination next week.

The vaccine was developed by German BioNTech, with funding from the American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

– Help is on the way, and we can see the way out. We now see that by spring, we will be through this. Let’s keep our will until then, Hancock said in an interview with British Sky News on Wednesday morning.

This vaccine is also at the forefront of approval in the EU and Norway. A decision can be made by 29 December. Preliminary results from the test show, according to Pfizer, that the vaccine is 95 percent effective and has no serious side effects.

Follow the development of vaccines against the coronavirus in VG’s vaccine overview.

Goes alone

For the rest of the countries in Europe, the vaccine will be presented at a meeting of the EU’s Science Committee on 29 December. For the United Kingdom, an approval is already being made.

– The United Kingdom will in any case leave the drug collaboration in January. They have obviously chosen to go alone a little earlier. Otherwise, all countries in Europe have already decided that we should have a common vaccine start, explains Steinar Madsen, who is doctor and medical director at the Norwegian Medicines Agency.

– In Norway, we have a clear attitude that we will participate in a joint European approval. The approval system in Europe is good, and we want an approval to be based on a solid scientific basis, and thorough investigation, Madsen continues.

It is therefore not relevant to have a corresponding urgent approval here in Norway. Madsen nevertheless describes the British approval as good news.

– We must reckon with the fact that the English authorities have made as thorough an assessment as they can, but at the same time it is a pity that they choose to break out of European cooperation.

Prioritizes risk groups

In the UK, 50 hospitals are now ready and waiting to receive the vaccine, says the Minister of Health. Elderly people, people in nursing homes and those who work there will be the first to receive the vaccine in the UK, says Minister of Health Hancock.

The pharmaceutical companies BioNTech and Pfizer confirm the news in a press release, and describe the approval as a “historic moment”.

– We believe that the vaccination program in the UK will reduce the number of hospital admissions, says director of BioNTech, Ugur Sahin in a statement.

Difficult to store

The vaccine requires two doses per person to be effective, and must be stored in minus 70 degrees. Due to this, it can be difficult to store and transport.

On Wednesday, Pfizer shared photos of the vaccine, which show how it should be packed in thermo-boxes before transport.

Pfizer via AP

Three other vaccines are also relevant for Norway through “rolling review” in EU systems. The vaccine candidates for Moderna and Oxford, as well as the candidate for Johnson & Johnson, who were admitted for assessment on Tuesday.

While some vaccine candidates may be easier to make because they can survive in refrigerator temperature, Johnson & Johnson’s candidate, for example, has another advantage: it requires only one dose to be effective.

The case is being updated.

Click on the graph below to read more about the Pfizer vaccine:

http://api.int.vgnett.no/enrichments/top_object/17740

also read

Can get vaccine answers no later than December 29

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