Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 2
The UK on Wednesday became the first western country to approve a Covid-19 vaccine for mass rollout, beating the US and other European nations in the vaccine race and marking a landmark moment in the fight against the virus.
The UK regulator Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency granted a temporary authorisation for emergency use for the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 messenger RNA vaccine (BNT162b2), adjudged safe for rollout.
The vaccine was found 95 per cent effective even in elders at the end of final analysis from phase-3 results.
“This constitutes the first emergency use authorisation following a worldwide phase-3 trial of a vaccine to help fight the pandemic,” US pharma giant Pfizer and BioNTech said today, adding they were anticipating further regulatory decisions across the globe in the coming days and weeks.
The path-breaking development on Pfizer vaccine, however, may not help India anytime soon.
Government sources here said they had conducted at least two rounds of talks with Pfizer starting as early as August, but no breakthrough could be achieved for two reasons. “Pfizer is not negotiating the vaccine price nor is it keen on bridging studies on the vaccine in India. In the absence of efficacy testing on Indians, it is not possible to roll the vaccine out here. Pfizer has not asked for any trials in India yet,” a government source said.