The UK’s Medicines Agency (MHRA) has approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine this Wednesday and expects it to be available to the population from next week.
The British regulators have approved the long awaited vaccine, developed by the American company Pfizer and its German partner BioNtech in only ten months of production, assuring that it could start to be dosed from next Monday.
With the approval of the Medical and Health Regulatory Agency, the United Kingdom will become the first country in the world to start the vaccination of the population against the coronavirus, of which there is an effectiveness of 95% of protection and of which 40 million doses have been provided for the 20 million inhabitants of the country, with two doses per person.
Pfizer’s vaccine will also become the first COVID vaccine to arrive in Europe, after the Commission closed an agreement on November 11 for the advance purchase of 200 million doses, with the option to extend it to another 100 million. However, the distribution and application of the vaccine will be complex due to the difficulties of conservation: at a temperature of 70 degrees below zero, which would force to transport it with its own refrigerators.
On November 18, Pfizer made public the preliminary results of its clinical trials, based on the innovative technology of messenger RNA. These results showed encouraging data of 95% effectiveness.
This technique, unprecedented in humans until now except in clinical trials, is based on using a small fragment of the virus’ genetic code to show the body how it should fight COVID-19 and thus develop the desired immunity.
According to expert recommendations in the UK, the first people to receive the vaccine will be those most at risk: residents and nursing home staff, followed by people over 80 and other health and social care workers. Next, the plan is based on immunizing all people over 50 and younger people with health conditions.
The vaccination plan will be carried out in two separate injections, both within 21 days of each other.
The rest of the vaccines with options would be the Moderna, which is expected to be approved in the EU by January 12 – with an effectiveness of 94.5%; Oxford Astrazeneca, with 70.4% effectiveness in normal cases and 100% with cases of severe COVID – still pending the date; and Sputnik V, with 95% and still pending confirmation of the date.
Of all of these, the simplest for conservation and distribution would be the Oxford Astrazeneca, but its effectiveness is the lowest so far.