The U.K.’s groundbreaking decision to grant emergency approval to Pfizer and BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine will likely lead other countries to quickly follow suit, according to one economist.
Regulators in the rest of Europe and the U.S. have yet to decide on granting emergency use of the vaccine, which was developed by the U.S. pharmaceutical giant and its German partner.
The U.K. government announced Wednesday that it had accepted a recommendation from the country’s independent drug regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, to approve the vaccine, which was seen to be 95% effective at preventing Covid infections in late-stage clinical trials.
The U.K. is the first to formally approve the Pfizer vaccine, its CEO calling the decision a “historic moment” in the fight against the pandemic.
“The U.K.’s approval will be only one of many, but along with that of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency, it is likely to set the pace for the rest of the world — and for the other vaccines that are awaiting approval,” said Ana Nicholls, managing editor of the Industry Briefing at The Economist Intelligence Unit.
“For the U.K., it means that the priority groups can now start to get vaccinations immediately: that includes healthcare workers and those in care homes (staff and residents) followed by other vulnerable groups — although given two doses are needed the effects won’t be felt until early next year.”
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