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How Britain rolled out Pfizer COVID vaccine ahead of the United States

Early Tuesday morning, Food and Drugs Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn was summoned to the White House. The meeting, fueled by concerns that Britain would approve a coronavirus vaccine before the United States, saw Chief of Staff Mark Meadows asking Hahn exactly what the heist was. On Wednesday, Meadows’ fears came true.

Britain became the first Western country to approve a vaccine for the coronavirus, ahead of the United States and the rest of Europe. British regulators have authorized the immediate deployment of a vaccine manufactured by US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, with the first immunizations due to take place within days. Meanwhile, FDA regulators aren’t even expected to meet to discuss the vaccine until next week, and Britain’s grand appeal has now put even more pressure on them.

Britain managed to rush for two main reasons: First, unlike the United States, UK regulators would rely heavily on the test analysis provided to them by the pharmaceutical companies – in this case, Pfizer. UK regulator director Dr June Raine explained on Wednesday that the amount of information Pfizer had provided them since the summer had allowed them to run ‘slippery’ analyzes for months – and then give a quick approval when final results arrived.



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