UK approves use of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine, rollout to begin next week

The UK will begin rolling out the first 800,000 doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine as of next week • European Medicines Agency to consider approval by the end of December for use in EU

The UK is the first country to approve the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and roll out is expected as of next week.

Britain's medicines regulator said the vaccine, which offers up to 95% protection against COVID-19, is safe to be rolled out.

The 800,000 doses will be available in the UK from next week. The UK has already ordered 40 million vaccines, enough to vaccinate 20 million people.

In an interview with MaltaToday, Health Minister Chris Fearne said the European Medicines Agency is expected to receive Pfizer's final submission towards the end of December and once approval is given the vaccine rollout in the EU will start immediately.

Fearne said that Malta has half-a-million coronavirus vaccine doses ordered from Pfizer and the first batch could be expected to arrive here in January.

The first people to receive the vaccine in Malta will be the front liners dealing with sick patients and the elderly aged 80 and over.

READ MORE: European medicines watchdog expected to give Pfizer first COVID-19 vaccine authorisation

What is the Pfizer vaccine?

Pfizer is the first vaccine to publish positive early results from the final stages of testing.

It is a new type called an mRNA vaccine that uses a tiny fragment of genetic code from the pandemic virus to teach the body how to fight COVID-19 and build immunity.

An mRNA vaccine has never been approved for use in humans before, although people have received them in clinical trials.

Because the vaccine must be stored at around -70 degree Celsius, it will be transported in special boxes, packed in dry ice. Once delivered, it can be kept for up to five days in a fridge.

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