UK Leaps Ahead, Approves Pfizer Vaccine

The UK vaulted over the US today in the race to immunize citizens against COVID-19 after it became the first Western country to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine under emergency authorization.

Initial immunizations will begin within days, The Guardian reports.

4 Takeaways: 

  • The UK has purchased 40 million doses of the vaccine, which had 95% efficacy in clinical trials.
  • During question time in Parliament today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson cautioned people not to “get their hopes up too soon” for vaccination, The Guardian also reports.
  • The regulatory speed in the UK was enabled under emergency measures as part of Brexit, which separates the UK from the European Union and is set to become final on Dec. 31, The New York Times notes.
  • The UK move “will likely put pressure” on the US FDA, a frequent target of President Trump, according to STAT.


Coming Up:

  • Outside experts on an FDA advisory panel will review Pfizer vaccine data at a Dec. 10 public meeting, followed by a Dec. 17 meeting for the Moderna vaccine.
  • Meanwhile in the EU: The European Medicines Agency has scheduled a review of the Pfizer vaccine on Dec. 29 and could make a decision on Moderna’s as early as Jan. 12, per AP.
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