The U.K. became the first western nation to clear Pfizer, BioNTech vaccine shot, ahead of decisions in the U.S. and the European Union (EU), according to Bloomberg. The U.K. had signaled to approve the vaccine, putting doctors in the country on standby. About 50 hospitals are preparing to administer the vaccine next week, and 800,000 doses are ready to be delivered from Belgium. 

  • The U.K. Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency said that Pfizer, BioNTech vaccine “met its strict standards of safety, quality, and effectiveness.” 
  • The U.K ordered enough doses of Pfizer-BioNTech shot to inoculate 20 million people, which is less than a third of its population.
  • While Pfizer and BioNTech said they could produce 1.3 billion doses next year, much of the supply will be shipped to the rest of Europe, the U.S., Japan, and elsewhere. 
  • U.K’s vaccine rollout could offer some political respite to Prime Minister Boris Johnson after eight months of criticism over his pandemic strategy.
  • The approval marks the first time a vaccine based on messenger RNA has reached the market.
  • This week, Pfizer and BioNTech sought regulatory clearance for their vaccine in the EU, placing it on track for approval before the end of the year.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will also meet on December 10 to discuss the vaccine. 

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