Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, have agreed to take the vaccine — developed by Pfizer and BioNtech — to boost public confidence in vaccination.
The U.K. Queen’s announcement comes just days after former US presidents Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton also pledged to get vaccinated for Covid19 on television to promote the safety of the vaccine.
The vaccine is ready to be rolled out in the United Kingdom and Bahrain.
After the UK Bahrain became the second country in the world to approve the emergency use of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and German partner BioNTech.
Leaving aside this storm in the British teacup, was this vaccine itself a triumph of British science? The idea of mRNA vaccines was conceived first by Katalin Kariko, a Hungarian scientist who emigrated to the US to pursue that effort. There she faced rejection of research grant proposals by funding agencies, which thought the concept was outlandish, and serially suffered academic demotions in her university career as she tried to pursue her idea. Forty years later, she is now being hailed as a Nobel-worthy visionary scientist. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine itself has been developed by the husband-wife duo Ugur Sahin and Özlem Türeci, entrepreneurial scientists who founded BioNTech. They are Germans who are Turkish by birth. The vaccine has been manufactured in Belgium.
Public health messaging in the UK say that people can have faith in the safety of coronavirus vaccines is “vitally important”, the leader of the body that has approved the Pfizer jab has said.
Dr June Raine, the chief executive of the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), said of the Pfizer treatment that there “should be no doubt whatever that this is a very safe and highly effective vaccine”.
Asked on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show about how important the public health message is to make sure that people actually take the vaccine, she said: “It’s vitally important. And I would really like to emphasise that the highest standards of scrutiny, of safety and of effectiveness and quality have been met, international standards.”
Raine said she expected the first people in the UK and Bahrain are to be given the vaccine within days.