Any new and effective Covid vaccine will be given emergency approval for use in the UK and an expanded workforce will be trained to give the injections to immunise as much of the population as possible quickly, the government has said.
A change in the law will allow the UK regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), to grant temporary approval for a vaccine from October, before it has been given a licence by the European authorities, which would be the normal procedure. The UK will be out of the EU from January and will approve drugs and vaccines without Brussels’ involvement.
The European Medicines Agency, which was based in London before Brexit, will fast-track any vaccine and is known to work efficiently, but sources say there are language requirements that could make MHRA approval quicker.
Ministers say there will be no shortcut on safety or effectiveness, and that any vaccine will be approved for the UK only if it meets the highest standards.
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