MATT Hancock has announced that Vaccinations will begin on Monday after the Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech was officially approved for clinical use by regulators.
The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care also stated that he expected Britain to have given the virus a good sharp kick in the cells “by spring”.
The development means that the UK is the first country in the world with a clinically approved vaccine ready to roll out to its citizens to end the pandemic and begin the process of returning Britain back to normality.
The vaccine will be administered in 50 hospital vaccination centres across the country to begin with, along with large scale vaccination centres currently being set up and through GPs and pharmacists in local communities.
“Help is on its way” Mr Hancock said. “We can now see the way out. We can see that by the spring we’re going to be through this… We will have it ready for early next week. This is fantastic news.
“The MHRA, the fiercely independent regulator, has clinically authorised the vaccine for rollout. The NHS stands ready to make that to happen.
“So from early next week we will start that programme of vaccinating people against Covid-19 here in this country.
“And as we know from earlier announcements, this vaccine is effective. The MHRA have approved it as clinically safe. And we have a vaccine, so it’s very good news.
“This is a challenging rollout, and the NHS in all parts of the UK stands ready to make that happen. They’re used to handling vaccines and medicines like this, with these sorts of conditions.
“It’s not easy but we’ve got those plans in place.
“We’ve been supporting people who are clinically extremely valuable to Covid throughout this crisis.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “The Government has today accepted the recommendation from the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for use.
“This follows months of rigorous clinical trials and a thorough analysis of the data by experts at the MHRA who have concluded that the vaccine has met its strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.
“The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) will shortly also publish its latest advice for the priority groups to receive the vaccine, including care home residents, health and care staff, the elderly and the clinically extremely vulnerable.
“The vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week. The NHS has decades of experience in delivering large scale vaccination programmes and will begin putting their extensive preparations into action to provide care and support to all those eligible for vaccination.
“To aid the success of the vaccination programme it is vital everyone continues to play their part and abide by the necessary restrictions in their area so we can further suppress the virus and allow the NHS to do its work without being overwhelmed.
“Further details will be set out shortly.”