British doctors were put on standby for a possible rollout before Christmas. The government invoked a special rule allowing the U.K. drug regulator to bypass its European Union counterpart as the country prepares for the Brexit transition period to conclude at the end of this year. And the U.K.’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency started its own accelerated review.
Earlier this week, the MHRA said it had the data it needed to assess whether the Pfizer
vaccine meets required standards and would “make a decision in the shortest time possible, without compromising the thoroughness of our review.” The shot was 95% effective in a clinical trial of almost 44,000 people, with no significant safety problems so far.
On Saturday, an MHRA spokesperson declined to comment. A BioNTech representative didn’t immediately have a comment. Pfizer
said in a statement that it doesn’t speculate on how long the review process will last or how it will end.
The first injections could take place from Dec. 7, the Financial Times reported earlier.
that the U.K. could approve a vaccine comes as Nadhim Zahawi, a junior minister for the Department of Business, was appointed as minister overseeing the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines.
The U.K. has ordered enough doses of the two-shot Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to immunize 20 million people, though that volume almost certainly won’t be available right away. The companies also have deals to supply hundreds of millions of shots to Europe, the U.S., Japan and elsewhere.
The Pfizer-BioNTech shot has raced to the head of the line after delays to trials of a vaccine from AstraZeneca Plc and the University of Oxford, which has also shown some promising signs in preliminary results from broad studies. Another one, from Moderna Inc., has also demonstrated effectiveness in late-stage trials.
According to the U.K. Press Association late Saturday, the government has secured another 2 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine, talking its total to 7 million.
UK secures 2 mn more doses of Moderna vaccine
Britain has secured two million doses of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate, to be available in Europe as early as the spring, the government said on Sunday, in addition to the 5 million doses it secured from the US company two weeks ago. Britain now has access to enough doses of Moderna's vaccine candidate for around 3.5 million people. Overall, it has access to 357 million doses of vaccines.