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Vaccine Authorization

The UK has given emergency authorization for the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech, the Associated Press reports.

The firms announced last month that data from their late-stage clinical trial indicated their mRNA-based candidate vaccine has a 95 percent efficacy.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, which oversees drug licenses in the UK, reviewed the firms' data and has recommended that the vaccine be allowed for emergency use, the AP reports. According to the Economist, the authorization from MHRA was able to come quickly as the agency had been conducting a rolling review of results as they became available, rather than waiting for the companies to submit a full data and safety package.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock says that the UK is to receive its first shipment of 800,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine within days and that people will begin to receive the vaccine shortly thereafter, the AP notes. It adds that the first doses are to go to individuals in nursing homes and people who work there, followed by people over the age of 80 and other healthcare workers.