Scenes like this have been unfolding in many British doctor’s offices and hospitals. The United Kingdom is the first country to vaccinate the public for COVID-19. (Photo used by permission of Christian Emmer)
The world’s eyes are here on Britain as they became the first country in the world to begin mass inoculating their citizens for COVID-19 after a thorough review on Tuesday.
Russia and China respectively have formulated their own vaccines for their own citizens without waiting for quality assessments of their vaccine.
The United Kingdom is vaccinating its citizens with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by the American pharmaceutical company and its German partner, BioNTech.
The vaccines first went out to frontline workers and the elderly. Margaret Keenan, a 90-year old woman is the first person to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, outside of the clinical trial.
Keenan shared her thoughts on her groundbreaking role. “I feel so privileged to be the first person vaccinated against COVID-19,” Keenan said after being rolled out in front of reporters after receiving the vaccine.
“I can’t thank May and the NHS staff enough who have looked after me tremendously, and my advice to anyone offered is to take it,” Keenan said. “If I can have it at 90, then you can have it too!”
When Britain started to review the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, America was in the process of reviewing several vaccines. Around the world many were intrigued to see which country would be the first to approve a vaccine.
It all came down to the speed of each country’s drug regulators.
British and European governments rely heavily on companies’ own analysis and information when reviewing the efficacy of the product.
American authorities perform their own thorough investigations of the products; in addition to the companies’ analysis and information, leaving their process to be longer.
The speed of the approval caused many to be concerned about the vaccine, such as Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the United States’ top infectious disease expert.
“We have the gold standard of a regulatory approach with the F.D.A.,” Fauci said during an interview last week. “The U.K. did not do it as carefully and they got a couple of days ahead.”
The next day Fauci apologized for his comments.
As of the end of the day Tuesday, December 8th, the vaccine rollout has been successful in the United Kingdom and its citizens are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.