The Telegraph news site cited government sources that British regulators were about to start a formal appraisal of the vaccine, made by Pfizer and BioNTech, and that the National Health Service had been told to be ready to administer it by Dec 1, even before the United States authorises it.
Whereas, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it would meet on Dec 10 to discuss whether to authorise the vaccine.
The UK Department of Health had no comment on when the first vaccinations would be administered. According to a spokesman the authorisation process by the medical regulator Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is independent of the government and will take as long as they need to review the final data from Pfizer. Britain formally asked its medical regulator, the MHRA, to assess the suitability of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Britain has ordered 40 million doses and expects to have 10 million doses, enough to protect 5 million people, available by the end of the year if regulators approve it.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organization (WHO) chief expressed concern about surging cases in many countries and insisted that complacency was not an option.
“We continue to receive encouraging news about Covid-19 vaccines and remain cautiously optimistic about the potential for new tools to start to arrive in the coming months,” WHO chief said in a statement during a virtual press briefing.
His comments came as global hopes of overcoming the coronavirus pandemic were boosted after a second candidate vaccine was found to be nearly 95% effective in an ongoing trial. But WHO has warned that widespread availability of any vaccine remains a long way off, even as Covid-19 cases and deaths surge in many parts of the world.
“A vaccine on its own will not end the pandemic,” the WHO chief said
Globally, infections have soared past 54 million with more than 1.3 million deaths, and experts caution there are still difficult and dangerous months ahead.