COVID-19: Why UK first approve vaccines?
COVID-19: Why UK first approve vaccines? On December 2, the United Kingdom became the first Western country to approve the launch of a COVID-19 pneumonia vaccine. This vaccine comes from Pfizer and BioNTech. The first batch of vaccines will be launched next week after obtaining emergency authorization from the British Drug Administration.
At present, the United Kingdom is one of the countries most severely affected by the epidemic, and the death toll is among the highest in Europe. The government’s crisis management capabilities have been severely criticized. However, the UK has surpassed the EU and the US in terms of vaccine marketing.
Why was the UK the first country to approve?
Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine has received emergency authorization from the independent regulatory agency, the British Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the UK. It can be said that the agency has played a vital role in this process. MHRA began a rolling review of Pfizer’s vaccine data in October this year, and only one group of data was reviewed. In this way, they can start the detailed review before the company submits the final authorization application. According to the MHRA, rolling review can complete the evaluation of a drug or vaccine in the shortest possible time under a public health emergency.
David Salisbury, associate researcher of the Global Health Project at Chatham House, said that rolling review means that review agencies can obtain product data “on a par with the company” and are more flexible. Finally, Pfizer submitted complete data on November 23. Under the rolling review system, it was approved within a week, which fully reflects the efficiency of their interaction.
Özlem Türeci, chief medical officer of BioNTech, said that the rolling review process has played a vital role. British authorities can immediately access the files and review the data, and raise questions to the company as early as possible, which greatly speeds up the process of in-depth evaluation of the data.
The European Medicines Agency is also adopting a rolling review process, starting the review on October 6. Pfizer said it will submit the final data on December 1. The administration stated that the review will be completed by December 29 at the latest. EU member states are not allowed to distribute COVID-19 pneumonia vaccines until they are authorized by the European Medicines Agency and approved by the European Commission.
In addition to the United Kingdom and the European Union, on November 20, Pfizer also submitted an emergency use authorization application for the vaccine to the US FDA. The US FDA Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee team will hold a meeting on December 10 to discuss Pfizer’s application report. If the vaccine is successfully authorized for emergency use, the first batch of vaccines will be delivered on December 15.
What are the side effects of Pfizer vaccine?
Pfizer and BioNTech said that there were no serious side effects in the large-scale trials, and the data testing committee did not report any serious safety issues related to the vaccine. The only noteworthy side effect was the fatigue reaction of some participants after the vaccination: 2% of the people reported fatigue after the first injection, and 3.7% of the people reported fatigue after the second injection.
The CNN website reported on the real experience of a subject Yasir Batalvi: The feeling of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine was the same as the flu vaccine. The arm felt so stiff that night, it was difficult to lift the arm above the shoulder. But the side effects are very limited. Only the arm feels pain and it will not affect anything else. After the second dose, there were symptoms that might be serious. Low-grade fever, fatigue and chills appeared that night. Batalvi contacted the research doctor, but the doctor did not panic and told him not to be nervous. The symptoms disappeared the next day.
Paul Offit, professor of pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, explained that it is normal for the vaccine to have some side effects, which means that the immune response is effective and you should be happy. Especially if the first dose of vaccination has obvious side effects, it means that our body will have stronger immunity to the virus, and the second dose will not be so painful.
When will the vaccine be available in the UK?
British Health Minister Matt Hancock said that the UK will start vaccination next week, with two doses for each person, allocated according to clinical priority.
The British Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization recommends that residents and staff of nursing homes be given priority for vaccination. People over the age of 80, first-line medical and health workers, people at high risk of new coronavirus infection, including cancer patients, people who are treated with immunosuppressants, patients with severe lung disease, and kidney disease, should be given priority. Next, the age group for vaccination will be relaxed to people over 50.
All the time reports have expressed concern about the storage and distribution process of Pfizer vaccine. The vaccine needs to be stored at minus 70 degrees and can be stored for 5 days at 2-8 degrees. Under this restriction, the United Kingdom will distribute the vaccine in three ways: first, the vaccine is ready to be vaccinated at 50 hospitals, then the vaccination center, and finally the community promotion of doctors’ clinics, including pharmacies.
Hancock said how many people can be vaccinated depends on the speed of production and introduction of the vaccine. According to the current news, the UK will be vaccinated from next week, and millions of people will be vaccinated throughout December. The people we select will be contacted by phone, and we hope that everyone who receives the call can be vaccinated in time. This is a safe vaccine approved by regulatory agencies. Vaccination is good for you and the entire community. We hope that the vaccine can be used to control this virus once and for all.
Is it safe to get more than one vaccine?
The British government is studying whether AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines can be used at the same time. The targets of the two vaccines are viral spike proteins, and the effectiveness is not yet clear, and there is no evidence that different vaccines can be interchanged. Therefore, we should confirm which vaccine a person has received and complete the second dose.
For now, if a person has received the first dose of vaccination, the second time is at a different vaccination site, or if you don’t know what the first dose is, you can also get a dose of the local vaccine.