Covid-19 vaccine launched in UK

Colin Kerr

Posted: Tuesday, December 8, 2020

A 90-year-old woman has become the first person in the world to be given the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine as part of the mass vaccination programme which started in the UK on Tuesday 8 December, 2021.

The woman was named as Margaret Keenan, 90, originally from Enniskillen, Tyrone, Northern Ireland, and now resident in Coventry, England.

Mrs Keenan received the first of 800,000 doses of the vaccine that will be given in the coming weeks. Her vaccine was administered at the University Hospital, Coventry, UK.

The UK is the first country in the world to start using the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine after regulators approved its use last week.

The vaccine been given approval for use following a thorough review carried out by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) .

The decision by the UK regulatory authority was made with advice from the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM), the government’s independent expert scientific advisory body. A dedicated team of MHRA scientists and clinicians carried out a rigorous, scientific and detailed review of all the available data, starting in October 2020.

This was done using a regulatory process known as a ‘rolling review’. A ‘rolling review’ can be used to complete the assessment of a promising medicine or vaccine during a public health emergency in the shortest time possible. This is done as the packages of data become available from ongoing studies on a staggered basis.

The MHRA expert scientists and clinicians reviewed data from the laboratory pre-clinical studies, clinical trials, manufacturing and quality controls, product sampling and testing of the final vaccine and also considered the conditions for its safe supply and distribution.

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