The first COVID-19 vaccine is set to be rolled-out in the UK from next week following government approval.
The approval, which is the first in the world for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, means immunisations of the most vulnerable could be rolled out within days.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson 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 government said the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) would shortly publish its advice for the priority groups to receive the vaccine.
JCVI has previously said that care home residents and staff should be given the jab first, followed by all those aged 80 years and over and health and social care workers.
The DHSC added: “The vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week. The NHS has decades of experience in delivering large scale vaccination programmes and will begin putting their extensive preparations into action to provide care and support to all those eligible for vaccination.
“To aid the success of the vaccination programme it is vital everyone continues to play their part and abide by the necessary restrictions in their area so we can further suppress the virus and allow the NHS to do its work without being overwhelmed. Further details will be set out shortly.”