On December 2nd, the UK became the first country to approve Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, leaping ahead of the US and the EU. Vaccinations will start for high-risk groups using 800,000 shots from Pfizer’s manufacturing center in Belgium. The treatment requires two shots, which means about 400,000 Britons will receive the treatment this year. Pfizer has agreed to supply Britain with 40 million shots of vaccine through 2021. The vaccine was developed and introduced in just 10 months, a process which normally takes 10 years.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) met on December 10th to consider Pfizer’s emergency use request. The agency will meet again on December 17th to look at American drug-maker Moderna’s emergency use request for its vaccine. The US is expected to receive 40 million shots of vaccine from Pfizer and Moderna by the end of this year, enough to vaccinate 20 million people. Health care workers and nursing home residents would be at the front of the line when the first coronavirus vaccine shots become available.
The European Medicines Agency said it has received emergency use requests from both Pfizer and Moderna. The agency will meet on December 29th and is expected to make the same conclusion with the UK.