Vaccine scientists ready for jab roll-out

A Pfizer / BioNTech Covid vaccine has been approved for use in the UK, paving the way for mass vaccination.

The government has given the green light to roll out the vaccine to hospitals that will likely receive the first doses to administer the vaccines to staff early next week.

And the companies behind the vaccine say it is a turning point in the fight against the coronavirus.

Ben Osborn, Pfizer’s UK country manager, said: “This is an incredible moment for science, it is an incredible moment for Pfizer and our partner BioNTech, but above all I think it is an incredible moment for society and our struggles. against this pandemic.

“This is now really a turning point, I believe, in the fight against Covid-19.

“We always had a very clear focus on producing a safe and effective vaccine, but it had to be on time.

“So this is absolutely in line with what we hoped for, but of course [that] has always been subject to MHRA’s independent review and I am delighted that we now have this authorization. “

Mr. Osborn said the delivery was taking place ‘at this point’.

He said, “As you probably heard from Secretary of State Matt Hancock earlier this morning, the delivery schedule has already been drawn up.

“We are now delivering from Belgium to the UK right now – that process has already begun.

“We expect to deliver approximately 800,000 doses in the coming days, ready for implementation by the NHS next week.”

He said the pharmaceutical company did not give an “absolute figure” on the total numbers to be delivered to the UK this year.

Mr. Osborn added: “You will understand that this is a significant challenge to achieve.

“But we will be able to deliver millions of doses in the coming weeks.

“That’s part of a larger scale-up, which will see the UK receive essentially 40 million doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine.”

When asked if the UK could order more vaccine doses, and if so, how long it would take them to get through, Mr Osborn said: “At the moment the government has only committed 40 million doses, so here we are. focused on. upon delivery.

“We will of course have talks with all governments, but we need to make sure we solve this pandemic worldwide.

“This is a global crisis and the vaccine must of course be a global solution.

“We need to make sure that equity is at the heart of all our decision making as we put in the required volumes for each country.”