The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was found to be safe and effective by the UK medicines regulator and has been approved for mass use in over-16s. Margaret Keenan who was turning 91 was the first person in the world to receive a dose. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has manufacturing sites in Europe and the US. Initial vaccine doses for the UK are being produced at Pfizer's site in Puurs, Belgium.
The vaccine from Pfizer is made using genetic material RNA, a part of the virus's genetic code. This is injected into patients to activate patient’s immune cells. This technique never before developed on this scale - it has strict temperature requirements and needs to be stored at a very cold -70C to prevent it from degrading. This means it needs to be transported in a carefully controlled deep-freeze delivery chain.
The Oxford vaccine is a genetically modified common cold virus that used to infect chimpanzees. it can't trigger infection in humans because it has had a tiny bit of genetic material removed. A fragment of the genetic code for coronavirus is inserted into this gap. This forms the vaccine. The technical term is a viral vector vaccine. The Oxford vaccine has a crucial advantage - its vials can be stored and transported at normal fridge temperature.
Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine approved for use in UK just before New Year 2021.
The first people will receive the Oxford University/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine on 4 January 2021 as the NHS rapidly expands COVID-19 vaccination programmes across the UK.
The NHS is the first health service in the world to deploy the life-saving jab, which has been authorised by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) after meeting strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness. It is the only approved vaccine which can be stored at fridge temperatures.
Brian Pinker, 82-year-old has become the first person in the world to receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine since it was approved for use in the UK.