On Tuesday, UK regulators granted emergency authorization to Pfizer’s and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, which was 95% effective in preventing infections according to Phase 3 data. The vaccine will be rolled out first to hospitals.
The [authorization] means the UK has vaulted past the United States and European Union in the race to approve a vaccine, months into a pandemic that has killed almost 1.5 million people worldwide.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine employs a new approach to making vaccines that uses a piece of genetic material called messenger RNA to prompt the body to make synthetic pieces of the coronavirus and stimulate an immune response. But mRNA is very fragile, so the vaccine must be kept at ultracold temperatures, meaning special storage equipment is required.
Speaking to Sky News, Hancock said there would be “a combination of three modes of delivery.” The first will be hospitals, with 50 set up to handle the vaccine and waiting to receive doses. This will be followed by vaccination centers, which he said were being set up now, before a “community rollout” including doctors’ offices and pharmacists.