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Covid-19 vaccination to start across UK next week

PA Media

The Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech has been approved in the UK, paving the way for vaccination to start next week.

The jab has been shown in studies to be 95% effective and works in all age groups.

A spokesman for the UK's Department of Health and Social Care said: “The Government has today accepted the recommendation from the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for use."

“This follows months of rigorous clinical trials and a thorough analysis of the data by experts at the MHRA who have concluded that the vaccine has met its strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness."

“The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) will shortly also publish its latest advice for the priority groups to receive the vaccine, including care home residents, health and care staff, the elderly and the clinically extremely vulnerable."

“The vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week.”

The development in the UK means Gibraltar will likely be able to begin vaccination soon too.

Two weeks ago, a spokesman for the Gibraltar Government said public health officials expected to begin vaccination this month.

Gibraltar will procure its Pfizer/BioNtech Covid-19 vaccines through the UK and officials here are finalising preparations to ensure they can commence a vaccination programme for frontline and vulnerable people as soon as the vaccine is available.

In the first batch, Gibraltar is expecting to receive enough doses of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNtech to vaccinate potentially up to a fifth of the population.

The Gibraltar Government spokesman added that the final figure of how many Pfizer vaccines Gibraltar will receive is “not yet clear” but Gibraltar has already secured enough freezers to safely store tens of thousands of vaccines.

“We have procured capacity enough to store 80,000 vaccines at -70C from Belgium,” the spokesman told the Chronicle at the time.