The Telegraph news site reported on Sunday that Britain may grant regulatory approval for a Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech this week, even before the US authorizes it.
Citing government sources, they said that British regulators were about to begin a formal evaluation of the vaccine, conducted by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE, and that the National Health Service had been told to be ready to administer it by December 1.
The US Food and Drug Administration said on Friday it would meet on December 10 to discuss whether the vaccine should be approved.
The British Department of Health had no comment on Sunday on when the first vaccines would be given.
A spokesperson said the authorization process by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is independent of government and will take as long as it needs to review final data from Pfizer.
“A tremendous amount of planning has been done to ensure our health service is ready to roll out the Covid-19 vaccine,” the spokesperson added.
Britain formally requested its medical organization, MHRA, last week to assess the suitability of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Britain has requested 40 million doses and expects to receive 10 million doses, sufficient to protect 5 million people by the end of the year, if approved by regulators.