By Babajide Okeowo
The UK has made history as the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for widespread use.
British regulator, the MHRA, says the jab, which offers up to 95% protection against COVID-19 illness, is safe for roll out and immunizations could start within days for people in high priority groups.
To this effect, the UK has already ordered 40m doses – enough to vaccinate 20m people, with two shots each with around 10m doses to be made available soon.
It is the fastest ever vaccine to go from concept to reality, taking only 10 months to follow the same developmental steps that normally span a decade.
Although vaccination can start, people still need to remain vigilant and follow coronavirus rules to stop the spread, say experts.
That means sticking with the social distancing and face masks, and testing people who may have the virus and asking them to isolate.
The vaccine is a new type called an mRNA vaccine that uses a tiny fragment of genetic code from the pandemic virus to teach the body how fight Covid-19 and build immunity.
An mRNA vaccine has never been approved for use in humans before, although people have received them in clinical trials.