The United Kingdom has become the first country in the world to approve the coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.
The vaccination programme will start shortly, with the over-80s, NHS workers, and staff in care homes at the front of the queue. After that it will be allocated according to age and assessment of vulnerability.
The prime minister Boris Johnson has warned that the tier system in England and the separate regimes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland remain crucial and people need to continue to follow the rules.
The MHRA, the medicine’s regulator which approved the vaccine in record time, has insisted that “no corners” have been cut in the process of approval.
Both Downing Street and the UK medicines regulator appeared to contradict a claim by Matt Hancock, health secretary, that swift approval of the vaccine had been possible because of Brexit.
The MHRA said the supply had been authorised using provisions under existing European law which are still in place until New Years’ Day.
Rolling out the vaccine will be a huge logistical exercise which could also be affected by a post-Brexit deal as the supplies will come from Belgium.
Huw Edwards presents BBC News at Ten reporting by medical editor Fergus Walsh and health editor Hugh Pym.
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