UK asks regulator to assess Pfizer vaccine for suitability

LONDON, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Britain has formally asked its medical regulator, the MHRA, to assess the vaccine being produced by Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech , health minister Matt Hancock said on Friday.

Pfizer said it would apply to U.S. health regulators on Friday for emergency use authorization (EUA) of its COVID-19 vaccine, the first such application in a major step toward providing protection against the new coronavirus.

“Here in the UK, the first step for authorising a vaccine is for the government formally to ask the independent regulator..., the MHRA, to assess its suitability,” Hancock told reporters.

“I can confirm that the government has formally asked the MHRA to assess the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine for its suitability for authorisation.”

Reporting by Kate Holton and Elizabeth Piper; editing by Stephen Addison