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Dec. 1, 2020, 5:15 a.m. EST

This could be the first country to distribute the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, as Moderna seeks FDA approval

By Pierre Briançon

The U.K. government has told the National Health Services’ hospitals to be ready to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by drugmaker Pfizer and its partner BioNTech as soon as next Monday, according to a Guardian report, later confirmed by other U.K. media. Meanwhile, biotech Moderna said it would submit a filing to regulators on Monday, requesting emergency authorizations to distribute its vaccine.

Read: U.K. Could Become First Country To Roll Out Covid-19 Vaccine as Pfizer-BioNTech Approval Likely ‘Within Days’

The outlook: News of the imminent rollout will help Johnson show there is light at last at the end of the tunnel, even though the first round of injections will be limited to doctors, nurses, and NHS personnel, given the particular difficulties involved in handling, storing and distributing the Pfizer vaccine.

Even as it struggles to counter the virulent second wave of COVID-19 while fearing the consequences of easing the lockdown for the Christmas season, the government’s clear hope is that beyond the medical profession and essential workers, the vaccination rollout will soon ramp up and reach a wider scale in the first few months of 2021.

Read: I’ve already been injected with a COVID vaccine. This is why I’m cheering for the Novavax underdog

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