Raine concludes by saying the vaccine meets rigorous high standards for safety.
And that’s it. The briefing is over.
Pirmohamed says there were about 40,000 people in the trials. Half got the vaccine, and half got the vaccine. He says no one suffered any serious side effects. Any side effects were mild.
And he says monitoring will continue as the vaccine gets rolled out.
Q: What are the conditions for the vaccine’s approval?
Raine says the conditions mainly relate to the vaccine’s quality. But they also cover monitoring of the vaccine. And the MHRA will also have close control over the information given to people distributing the vaccine.
She says the controls are very broad, in line with best international practice.
Q: Which frontline NHS staff get priority?
Lim says the JCVI has set out some principles governing which healthcare workers should get priority.
Q: Will NHS staff be allowed to opt out of vaccination?
Lim says there is no suggestion that vaccination should be compulsory. But the JCVI does not make policy, he says. He says that is a matter for ministers.
Q: What is your message to people sceptical about vaccines?
Raine says people should be confident in the vaccine’s safety. All the checks have been carried out, she says.
She says two other vaccines are still being evaluated.
Q: When might the other vaccines be approved?
Raine says she cannot predict that. Every parcel of data is being scrutinised. She says the Commission on Human Medicines expert working group will be working over Christmas on this.
That implies that approval for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, or the Moderna vaccine, might not happen until after Christmas.
Q: Do we have enough supply of this vaccine?
Lim says vaccine supply will be limited in the first instance. That is why the most vulnerable should take priority.
He says the UK will need more than one vaccine. This is the start of a programme, not the end of the programme, he says.
Lim says the intention is for the most vulnerable people – the groups highest on the priority list – to get the vaccine first.
He says this is not dependent on where people live.
JCVI chair admits care home residents might not get vaccinated first because of operational constraints
Q: Will people in care homes really get priority, given the logistical problems of delivering the vaccine?
Lim says there will be “some flexibility” in view of the operational constraints. The JCVI is advising that care home residents should come first. But he says whether that is possible will depend on circumstances.
- JCVI chair admits care home residents might not necessarily get vaccinated first because of operational constraints.
Q: Why have you been able to approve this more quickly than the European regulator?
Raine says the MHRA has responded to the national situation, but it has followed international standards.
Q: How long does the vaccine take to work?
Pirmohamed says the vaccine will be effective seven days after the second dose has been administered. But there is some protection from 12 days after the first dose.
Updated priority list for getting Covid vaccination published
Lim then presents a slide showing which groups will get priority.
This is effectively same as the priority list in the interim advice published in September.
Lim says the JCVI is recommending that vaccination should go first to those most at risk, and to health professionals.
Age is by far the single biggest risk factor, he says.
But he says attention should also be paid to mitigating health inequalities.
This slide sets out the overall priorities.
Lim is now speaking about the work of the JCVI. It is an independent body, he says.
He says it has been meeting regularly over the last few months.
This slide shows the data is has been considering.
Pirmohamed is now explaining how the Commission on Human Medicines was involved. He describes how it looked at all the data, and concluded that there was “overwhelming benefit” in allowing the vaccine to be approved.
Any side effects were very mild, and only lasted a day or so, he says.
He says the NHS explained what the deployment strategies were. The commission advised it on stability issues.
Raine is now showing slides. The first explains who the regulatory process was speeded up. Stages of the process overlapped, instead of taking place one after the other.
Although the processes was speeded up, no corners were cut, she says.
She says safety planning has been going on for some time. The vaccine has been tested batch by batch.
Here are the first two slides.
Raine says the briefing has been called to announce that the MHRA is advising the government, on the basis of advice from the Commission on Human Medicines, to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, on terms agreed by the JCVI.
The government has accepted this advice, with some conditions, she says.
“The safety of the public will always come first,” she says.
She says approval was only given after the most rigorous assessment.
No 10 coronavirus technical briefing, with MHRA chief
Recently Downing Street started holding coronavirus technical or data briefings on Wednesday, led by scientists not politicians, and the latest is due to start at 10am.
Dr June Raine, chief executive of the Medical and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the body that has just approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for use in the UK, will lead the briefing.
The other people on the panel are Prof Sir Munir Pirmohamed, chair of the Commission on Human Medicines expert working group, and Prof Wei Shen Lim, chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
In September the JCVI produced interim advice saying which groups should get priority for the vaccine. Its final advice is due to be published shortly.
at 5.43am EST
From Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester and a former health secretary