The UK government said it on Wednesday “accepted the recommendation from the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for use.”
It added in a statement that the vaccine “will be made available across the UK from next week.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the vaccine would first go to the elderly, those in care homes and their carers, and to those who are clinically vulnerable, the Reuters news agency reported.
Poland's Deputy Health Minister Waldemar Kraska said on Tuesday that his country would start an anti-coronavirus vaccination programme as soon as a vaccine appears.
“We want to vaccinate as many Poles as possible, so when there is a vaccine, we will immediately begin vaccination," Kraska told state broadcaster TVP Info.
He added that the health minister would on Wednesday give details of how Poland is preparing for such a programme.
Poland’s prime minister said last month that millions of vaccines against the coronavirus were likely to reach his country next spring as part of a European deal with drug makers.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on November 13 that his government has set up a working group with experts from US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer amid efforts to make a COVID-19 vaccine available to Poles as quickly as possible.
In mid-November, Morawiecki also talked with executives from global pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca as part of efforts to secure a COVID-19 vaccine for Poland, state news agency PAP reported.
The European Union, of which Poland is part, has already struck deals to secure vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Moderna, CureVac, Sanofi-GSK, and Johnson & Johnson, taking its potential stock of COVID-19 shots to nearly 2 billion, news agencies have reported.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) could produce a scientific opinion on COVID-19 vaccines seeking regulatory approval by the end of the year in a best case scenario, the regulator's new chief was quoted as saying last week.
Source: Reuters, IAR, PAP, gov.uk