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The Covid Vaccine: approved in the U.K.

As you may have seen in the news, the Pfizer - BioNTech vaccine has been approved in the U.K. and now in the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Many people have already received the first dose of this vaccine. Though rushed, it came as a saving grace to many people who are in need and the vaccine was administered to medical professionals first to better protect them. This vaccine may be one of the best things that has happened to us, even though there are different stances on it.

Per the vaccine, “Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech intend to manufacture up to 50 million doses this year.” After being approved in the U.K, this will be “a crucial test of the logistics and distribution of the vaccine - which needs to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures using custom made vaccine freezer boxes - and should give a sense of how effectively the company can scale up deployment globally.” BioNTech then indicated that the vaccine “was over 90% effective at preventing Covid-19 infections among volunteers, based on early data from Phase 3 trials. Phase 3 trials compare a new vaccine to the standard-of-care drug and examine the side effects of the same. The results are surprisingly strong, considering that the U.S. FDA had set a baseline efficacy of just 50% for the approval for Covid-19 vaccines. While there is a possibility that the efficacy rate of Pfizer’s vaccine could change as more data comes in, the numbers are no doubt encouraging. The companies intend to manufacture up to 50 million doses this year, and as many as 1.3 billion doses in 2021. Two shots of the vaccine will be required per person.

The company Novavax started their trials for a COVID vaccine in the United Kingdom in early September and with their $1.6 billion in funding, they created the NanoFlu vaccine, which could be potentially approved by the FDA. However, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was approved first followed by the one proposed by Moderna.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was approved by the U.K on December 2nd, ahead of the U.S. and European Union. The U.K. government approved the vaccine after a recommendation from “Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) which found that the vaccine met its ‘strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.’”

The vaccine is “mRNA (messenger RNA) vaccine that uses genetic fragments from the Covid-19 virus to trigger the body into making antibodies for Covid-19 and protect the recipient from the disease”. The Moderna vaccine, which was also approved by the FDA, also used the mRNA technology. Pfizer and BioNTech teamed up and started working on this vaccine in February, when the virus was just originating. The mRNA technology that resulted from this is fascinating. The technology works as follows: “mRNA is injected into cells, which then instructs the cells to produce copies of a tiny piece of the coronavirus. Once these fragments begin circulating in the body, they trigger the immune system to be on the lookout for Covid-19. The protein fragments are harmless, and the mRNA eventually breaks down in the body without permanently altering the cells.” It took 11 months to get this vaccine developed and authorized, while the virus slowly took millions of lives.

A couple days ago, we saw that “dozens of countries around the world [began to] isolate the U.K. in a bid to contain a new, rapidly-spreading variant of Covid-19. Leading vaccine manufacturers Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna are testing their shots against the strain and said on 22nd December that they are confident their vaccines remain effective against the mutated virus although testing to confirm this may take weeks.

The virus is changing, but with our modern technology and advancement in medicine, we are ready to adjust to it as early as possible to avoid a replay of March 2020. Take precautions and if you are eligible, take the vaccine. This can only help you with it’s high effectiveness on this pandemic. Be careful, stay safe, and wear a mask.

Written by Daniella Agayeva

Illustrated by Carissa Tran


*Hart, Robert. “Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna Test Vaccines Against New Covid-19 Variant Spreading Across U.K.” Forbes,, 22 Dec. 2020,

*Ray, Siladitya. “U.K. Grants Emergency Approval Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 Vaccine, The First Country To Do So.” Forbes,, 2 Dec. 2020,

*Rosenbaum, Leah. “FDA Authorizes Pfizer And BioNTech’s Covid-19 Vaccine For Use In The United States.” Forbes,, 11 Dec. 2020,

*Trefis Team. “What The Approval Of The Covid Vaccine In The U.K Means For Pfizer Stock.” Forbes,, 4 Dec. 2020,

Please note that this article is subject to future edits in case opposing information is found that disproves the information here.

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