Bahrain has become the second country in the world to approve Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine candidate 'BNT162b2' for emergency use after the United Kingdom approved the vaccine on Wednesday. "The confirmation of approval by the National Health Regulatory Authority of the Kingdom of Bahrain followed thorough analysis and review undertaken by the authority of all available data," news agency AP quoted state-run Bahrain News Agency as saying.
Bahrain had earlier approved China-based Sinopharm's experimental vaccine candidate for emergency use on coronavirus patients. There's no clarity as of yet on how many vaccines have been ordered by the Gulf nation, which is one of the longest-serving allies of both Saudi Arabia and the United States.
Meanwhile, the Pfizer vaccine got a fast approval in the UK after the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) found the jab safe for widespread rollout. The country has already ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to vaccinate its 20 million population. As the coronavirus cases continue to rise in the UK, it planned to move quickly into the approval process.
Around 10 million doses of the vaccine will be available soon, reported BBC News. The approval came in only 10 months since the companies started developing it, which in itself is the fastest in the history of vaccines.The US and the European Union are also vetting the Pfizer and BioNTech candidate and the one developed by Moderna Inc.
Ugur Sahin, MD, CEO and Co-founder of BioNTech, said the EUA in the UK will mark the first time citizens outside of the trials will have the opportunity to be immunised against COVID-19. "We believe that the roll-out of the vaccination programme in the UK will reduce the number of people in the high-risk population being hospitalised," he said.
Notably, Pfizer, BioNTech, Moderna, and Russia's Sputnik V are the only vaccines that have claimed over 90 per cent efficacy of their respective candidates so far. While Russia had already rolled out Sputnik V for the masses in August, the recently announced data results on the efficacy of Moderna, Pfizer, and BioNTech's vaccines have also raised high hopes. Besides, Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford's vaccine candidate, being developed along with India's Serum Institute, has also achieved 70 per cent efficacy during the preliminary analysis of the Covid-19 trial participants.