(Reuters) - Britain is set to approve the COVID-19 vaccine developed by BioNTech SE and Pfizer Inc next week and deliveries would begin within hours of the authorisation, the Financial Times reported on Saturday.
The first immunisations using the BioNTech and Pfizer vaccine could take place from Dec. 7, the FT said, citing unnamed sources.
Earlier in the day, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson named Nadhim Zahawi, currently a junior business minister, as the minister responsible for the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines.
Britain said on Nov. 20 it had formally asked its medical regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), to assess the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for its suitability, the first step in making it available outside the United States.
Britain has ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine, which has been found to be 95% effective in preventing the spread of a virus that has killed more than 1.4 million people worldwide and crippled the global economy.
The government asked the regulator on Friday to assess AstraZeneca Plc’s COVID-19 vaccine for a possible rollout.
It has secured 100 million doses of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University and has targeted a rollout to begin before Christmas.
Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Alex Richardson and David Evans