Vaccine day in Britain; Americans await regulator’s nod for vaccine

The UK is gearing up to deploy its first Covid-19 vaccine with plans to provide the shot at more than 1,000 centers across the country over the coming weeks with the first jab expected to be given on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Covid-19 vaccine developed by and BioNTech could be in use by Friday if the Food and Drug Administration approves an emergency use authorization, James Hildreth, a member of the FDA’s vaccine advisory committee said.

The first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech shots, which gained emergency approval from the UK drug regulator last week, will be given on Tuesday to frontline health workers, care home workers and those aged over 80.

The government has bought 40 million doses from the companies, enough to inoculate 20 million people with the two-dose regimen. The shots will be given in order of priority, with the first vaccines going to those in care homes, including workers, and people over 80 years old.

While the UK becomes the first western country to deploy a Covid-19 vaccine, the Food and Drug Administration set to vote on emergency-use authorization for the Inc./BioNtech SE shot the day before, an FDA adviser said.

The panel is scheduled to vote on the matter after reviewing the vaccine’s data at a meeting on Thursday.

“If the FDA Commissioner decides to issue approval, the EUA, on that day when the vote is taken, as early as Friday of next week we could see vaccinations happening across the country,” Hildreth said.

Sinovac secures $515 mn funding to boost Covid vaccine production

China’s Sinovac Biotech has secured $515 million in funding from a local firm to double production capacity of its coronavirus vaccine, the companies said on Monday, as it expects efficacy data of its experimental shot this month.

The investment deal also comes as Sinovac expands supply deals and trials of its experimental vaccine CoronaVac with more countries following positive results from early to mid-stage clinical trials. China’s Sino Biopharmaceutical said a business unit will invest $515 million in Sinovac Life Sciences, a subsidiary of Sinovac, to help development and production of CoronaVac.

Sinovac said in a separate statement that it would be able to manufacture 300 million vaccine doses annually and aims to complete construction of a second production facility by the end of 2020 to increase annual Covid-19 vaccine production capacity to 600 million doses.

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