Covid vaccine has arrived in the UK, says minister

Company Secretary Alok Sharma said “some” of the 800,000 doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine are in the UK, adding that he is “confident” they will all be available when the vaccination program begins.

When asked if the batch of 800,000 doses is now in the UK, he told BBC Breakfast, “Well some are in the UK, but like we said the program is going to start next week, and I think i’m sure we got all of the ones that were available from the start of the program.

“People must have confidence in this vaccine. The MHRA is considered by scientists to be the gold standard of regulators around the world. “

Mr Sharma said people should be “absolutely certain” that the vaccine is safe.

“If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t have been approved and wouldn’t have received approval from the MHRA,” he said, adding that the MHRA was “absolutely meticulous” during the process.

Mr. Sharma reiterated that the “bulk” of the vaccine rollout would take place in 2021, with the Oxford / AstraZeneca version likely to significantly boost supply.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today program: “We expect more (Pfizer vaccine) by the end of the year, but what we’ve always said is that most of the vaccination program will take place next year.

“Of course we have the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine we are talking about now, but AstraZeneca is also being assessed by the MHRA.

“We’ll see what they say and then of course we’ll have 100 million on order, and much of that is manufactured – and the filling and finishing – in the UK.”