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UK approves Pfizer/BioNtech covid-19 vaccine as India still waits, biding time

Published on:2 December 2020, 14:36pm IST
UK becomes the first country to approve the Pfizer/BioNtech covid-19 vaccine. Unfortunately for us Indians, the wait for this vaccine is going to be long.
Team Health Shots
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The covid-19 vaccine is about to reach British doorsteps. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Finally the wait is over as The United Kingdom becomes the first nation approve a vaccine to combat covid-19.

According to reports, the UK government has approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against covid-19, paving the way for mass vaccinations in the country against the deadly novel coronavirus.

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The vaccine is 95% effective, say officials

As per the officials, the vaccines might just offer a foolproof solution to curb the virus. The British Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), says the jab, which claims to offer up to 95% protection against covid-19 illness, is safe for roll out.

The joint vaccine, produced by American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German biotech firm BioNTech, had recently claimed that the vaccine works well in people of all ages, races and ethnicities. The UK government had asked the MHRA to look into the data to clear it for use if it meets “robust” standards of quality, safety, and effectiveness.

covid-19 vaccine
Covid-19 is still not over, so beware. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The UK is expected to receive a total of 40 million doses by the end of 2021, enough to vaccinate up to a third of the population, with the majority of doses anticipated in the first half of next year.

The UK government stressed that the covid-19 vaccine will only be authorised for supply by the UK’s independent regulator if it meets strict standards of quality, safety, and effectiveness, and if they are satisfied the vaccine can be consistently manufactured.

The vaccine will be manufactured in BioNTech’s German sites, as well as Pfizer’s manufacturing site in Belgium. When the vaccine is stored in a fridge, it has an effective life of up to five days at temperatures of 2 to 8 degrees, which will allow it to be easily stored at distribution centres.

So the moment of truth is literally here. We hope that the delivery of this vaccine starts as soon as possible so that we can beat covid-19 and be back on track.

The Pfizer vaccine might not come to India for a very long time

As the UK prepares for a massive vaccination roll out next year, for Indians the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine might not be the saviour after all. The review and approval process for the vaccine in India is expected to be much longer. Moreover, even after the due approvals the cost at which this vaccine will come to the common Indian man might be alarmingly high.

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Our best bets then are the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine which is currently being tested at the Serum Institute of India in Pune, and is a hopeful candidate for early vaccination. In the meantime, the Indian Council of Medical Research is also developing a vaccine with Bharat Biotech, and is expected to be deployed soon.

(With inputs from PTI)

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