UK could approve Pfizer vaccine this week

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Britain could give regulatory approval to Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine this week, even before the United States authorises it, the Telegraph reports.

Citing government sources, it says British regulators are about to start a formal appraisal of the vaccine, made by Pfizer and BioNTech SE, and the National Health Service had been told to be ready to administer it by December 1.

The US Food and Drug Administration said on Friday it would meet on December 10 to discuss whether to authorise the vaccine.

The UK Department of Health had no comment on Sunday on when the first vaccinations would be administered.

A spokesman said the authorisation process by the medical regulator Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency was independent of the government and would take as long as it needed to review the final data from Pfizer.

Britain formally asked its medical regulator last week 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 five million people, available by the end of the year if regulators approve it.