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Updated: Jun 6, 2021

NHS, December 2020

A coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech has been approved for use in the UK.

The vaccine will be made available from next week.

The vaccine has met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Other vaccines are being developed. They will only be available on the NHS once they have been thoroughly tested to make sure they are safe and effective.

Vaccine safety

Any coronavirus vaccine that is approved must go through all the clinical trials and safety checks all other licensed medicines go through. The UK has some of the highest safety standards in the world.

Vaccines will only be used if they are approved by the MHRA. The MHRA has been monitoring every stage of coronavirus vaccine development.

So far, thousands of people have been given a coronavirus vaccine and no serious side effects or complications have been reported.

Who will get the vaccine

The NHS will start giving the coronavirus vaccine as soon as it is available. You will be contacted when it's your turn.

At first, the vaccine will be offered to people who are most at risk from coronavirus, before being offered more widely.

We expect the vaccine will first be offered to:

  • people who live in care homes and care home workers

  • people aged 80 and over

  • health and social care workers in England

The final decision on who will get the vaccine first will follow advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

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