The UK Medicines Agency has approved an emergency approval, Hancock said. The delivery should begin immediately. Biontech and Pfizer have agreed to ship a total of 40 million vaccine doses to the UK for December and next year.
The first 800,000 corona vaccine doses should be available in the coming week. “At the beginning of the week we will start the vaccination program against Covid-19 here in this country,” Hancock told Sky News in London. Hancock sees the UK at an advantage in terms of vaccine approval because of the EU exit. The British Medicines Regulatory Authority (MHRA) issued emergency approval to the corona vaccine from Biontech and Pfizer on Wednesday.
“We were able to make a decision thanks to the UK regulator, a world-class agency, and not have to go the pace of Europeans, who move a little slower,” Hancock told Times Radio on Wednesday. The security checks were all carried out and the same processes went through. “But because of Brexit, we were able to accelerate the process,” said Hancock. Hancock described the transport and storage of the vaccine as a challenge, because the agent had to be stored at minus 70 degrees.
“The European Medicines Agency EMA is responsible for approval in the EU,” explained Clemens Auer, special representative of the Austrian Ministry of Health and co-chair of the purchasing group of the 27 EU countries. On Tuesday, the EMA announced approval for December 29th.
The EMA proceeded carefully when viewing and evaluating the documents and there was no reason to put pressure on the approval authority. “In any case, we in Austria are ready to start rolling out the first vaccinations in January in the old people’s and nursing homes with the residents and their nursing staff as well as in the hospitals with the health staff”, Auer informed the APA in writing.
“As gratifying as the current progress in Covid-19 vaccine development is, we are now faced with the challenge of producing 1.4 billion vaccine doses for European needs alone, and in the shortest possible time. Because everyone wants the vaccine at the same time “, said Pharmig General Secretary Alexander Herzog. Pharmig is the association of the pharmaceutical industry in Austria.
Given the great demand, some companies have already started producing large quantities of their vaccine candidates at their own risk. “To this end, production capacities have been expanded, new manufacturing technologies have been implemented and production partnerships have been established around the globe with specially certified production partners,” said Herzog, according to the announcement. “These anticipatory measures are crucial to the rapid availability of potential vaccines.”
The vaccine from the German biotech company and its US partner Pfizer is currently seen as one of the most promising means of containing the coronavirus. Almost 1.5 million people who tested positive for Corona have now died worldwide.
In most of the world there is no vaccine available for widespread use. China and Russia, among others, have been vaccinating certain population groups for some time. The Italian government is working on a large-scale vaccination plan with which millions of Italians will be vaccinated against the corona virus from the end of January. The government plans to make 202 million vaccine doses available in the first quarter of 2021, said the Italian Minister of Health Roberto Speranza.
Biontech and Pfizer emphasized that their vaccine was approved based on data from a large clinical trial involving tens of thousands of subjects.
According to Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, the first people in Belgium will also be vaccinated on January 5th. “On January 5th we are ready, like other countries,” said the liberal politician on Wednesday, according to the Belga news agency. The final details of the vaccination strategy are currently being clarified. But this goes quickly. “When the vaccinations are ready, our country will be ready.”
Vaccination in Belgium should be voluntary and free. First of all, risk groups and health care workers are to be vaccinated. An application for approval has been submitted to the European Medicines Agency for two vaccines.