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Britain approves use of COVID-19 vaccine

Posted December. 04, 2020 07:43,   

Updated December. 04, 2020 07:43


The BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 on Wednesday gained approval of use from the British government for the first time in the world, only increasing heating up the competition among many governments for the newly developed medicine. However, safety concerns are still lingering that the COVID-19 vaccine was designed in just several months, a much shorter period than the normal time frame of at least several years required for vaccine development. To sooth such public concerns, former U.S. President Barack Obama endorsed vaccination by publicly saying, “I will be taking it, and I may take it on TV or have it filmed so people know that I trust this science.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a press conference on Wednesday that vaccination will begin with older adults, resident in care homes, care home workers, all those aged 80 years of over, forefront health and social care workers, all those 75 years and so on, in such order of age and risk, according to BBC News. He added that Britain could go back to normality by next spring if vaccine distribution starts next week.

Meanwhile, Japan on Wednesday passed an amendment to offer free COVID-19 vaccines to all its citizens. Vaccines developed by Pfizer and other pharmaceuticals will be provided for free once they achieve usage approval from the Japanese government, reported the Tokyo Shimbun expecting vaccination to possibly start within this year. Germany also decided to build around 600 centers that can handle 5,000 vaccine injections a day by mid-December so that mass vaccination can begin around the end of this year. Italy announced to acquire 220 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and provide them to every Italian citizen for free starting from next January.


It is expected that U.S. citizens will start having access to COVID-19 vaccines around the middle of this month as Washington is expected to discuss approval of the Pfizer vaccine next Thursday. Dr. Moncef Slaoui, Chief Advisor to Operation Warp Speed, or a U.S. vaccine development program, predicted that one million U.S. citizens would be immunized by the end of February with vaccination starting from mid-December. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered vaccination to get started next week by saying that Russia produced more than two million doses of Sputnik V, a vaccine independently developed by the Russian government.

Youn-Jong Kim zozo@donga.com