This is an historic moment. The beginning of the end of the pandemic. And it starts here in the UK, the first country to licence a COVID-19 vaccine.
The Pfizer/BioNTech jab was shown in clinical trials to prevent 95% of COVID cases. And it works just as well in the elderly, who are most at risk of serious illness from the virus.
With at least 59,000 deaths in the UK, 1.5 million worldwide, never has a vaccine been in greater need.
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The UK medical regulator has been reviewing data on safety and effectiveness as it came in from clinical trials in recent weeks, so it was able to give it the green light just a week after the companies formally applied for emergency use authorisation.
The first of 40 million doses – enough for 20 million people – will be shipped