Regulators and health officials in the United Kingdom are waving the Union Jack today, celebrating being the first country to approve the COVID-19 vaccine developed by US-based pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German biotech firm BioNTech.
The frontrunner vaccine is under review in regulatory agencies around the world, including the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Union’s European Medicines Agency. But the UK was the first to give the vaccine the green-light after a remarkably short 10-day review. In non-pandemic times, such reviews typically take months.
“The UK was the first country to sign a deal with Pfizer/BioNTech—now we will be the first to deploy their vaccine,” UK Business Secretary Alok Sharma wrote in a tweet. “In years to come, we will remember this moment as the day the UK led humanity’s charge against this disease.”