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The United Kingdom on Wednesday became the first country to formally approve the Pfizer and BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, a huge symbolic milestone in the fight against the pandemic.
The vaccine has been authorized far quicker than any other in history, its lightning development outpacing the 15-20 years it usually takes to develop these types of medicines.
The first inoculations are set to be rolled out next week, the government said.
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San Francisco mayor dined at same Napa Valley restaurant as Calif. governor
SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco Mayor London Breed dined at a posh Napa Valley restaurant the day after California’s governor was there.
Breed joined seven others at the three Michelin-starred French Laundry on Nov. 7 to celebrate the 60th birthday of socialite Gorretti Lo Lui, the mayor’s spokesman confirmed to the San Francisco Chronicle. She dined in the same kind of partially enclosed indoor/outdoor room Gov. Gavin Newsom celebrated in a day earlier.
Newsom, who has appealed to Californians to “do your part” and stay home, apologized when the 12-person dinner was reported, then again when photos emerged showing him, his wife and others sitting close together at the same table without masks.
Breed’s spokesman, Jeff Cretan, called the mayor’s French Laundry dinner a “small family birthday dinner.” He did not immediately respond to a telephone message Tuesday inquiring whether the dinner involved more than three different households, which are prohibited under the state’s rules.
Italy plans to distribute more than 200M vaccine doses in 2021
ROME — Italy’s health minister told lawmakers on Wednesday that Italy will distribute 202.6 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines during 2021 in “an unprecedented effort that will require a huge collective commitment.’’
Robert Speranza said the vaccines will not be mandatory, but that the doses allotted Italy through an EU collective purchasing agreement would be “enough to potentially vaccinate the entire population.”
Speranza emphasized that the distribution of the vaccines would depend on regulatory approval which was still pending from the European Medicines Agency.
The first vaccines are expected to arrive in January with Pfizer’s vaccine expected to get first EMA approval by Dec. 29 and Moderna by Jan. 12. Priority will be given first to Italy's front-line health care workers, then residents of nursing homes, then to elderly over 80 before moving to other groups like people with medical risks, law enforcement, teachers and prison workers.
British government is first to approve Covid-19 vaccine, will roll out shots next week
The United Kingdom has become the first country to formally approve a Covid-19 vaccine, giving the green light to Pfizer-BioNTech and saying the shots will start being rolled out next week.
The announcement Wednesday marks a huge milestone, not just for the fight against the coronavirus but also for science. This achievement has come far quicker than any other vaccine, which typically take 15-20 years to make.
"For so long we've been saying that if a vaccine is developed, then things will get better in 2021, and now we can say when this vaccine is rolled out things will get better," British Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC.
The roll-out will start small, just 800,000 shots in the first batch with most of the 40 million doses ordered by the British government coming next year.
It will not go unnoticed that British regulators have made this decision ahead of their American counterparts, as different officials and businesses around the world strike the right balance between speed, safety and effectiveness.