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Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will go into use next week in the UK

Older people and frontline health workers could be vaccinated within days as the first country authorizes Pfizer's vaccine.

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COVID-19 tests continue around the world as the first vaccines are prepared.

Jens Schlueter/AFP via Getty Images
For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

The UK has approved a COVID-19 vaccine and plans to implement the treatment as early as next week. British care home residents, older adults and health care workers will be first to be inoculated with the groundbreaking vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

The British government has assured the public the vaccine is safe, having been through rigorous clinical trials with the results analyzed by the national medicine regulator. Some 800,000 doses will be distributed to vulnerable people in the next week, while the majority of the population will be vaccinated in the new year.

The vaccine is one of several in development as the world's scientists race to fight the pandemic. Developed by German biotech firm BioNTech and US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, it's also the first vaccine to use cutting-edge mRNA genetic material to fight the illness. The treatment is reported to be over 90% effective.

The vaccine has to be stored at a temperature of -70 degrees Celsius (-94 degrees Fahrenheit), so is expected to be administered in hospitals at first until suitable storage is rolled out to other locations. 

The US is examining the Pfizer vaccine and a similar vaccine developed by Moderna. The US Food and Drug Administration is expected to follow the UK in approving one or more of the treatments soon.

Russia and China have already approved vaccines, but without large-scale testing.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.